As a 20-year-old college student living far from home, I often forget that my parents still lose sleep worrying over my decision-making skills. Or, as my mom says, my lack of them.

It’s not so much that I make bad decisions as it is that I don’t have as much communication with my parents as I should.  I guess once you start paying your own rent and buying your own groceries it’s hard to tell them things because you don’t want to disappoint them by doing something they may not agree with.  That’s how I have come to be in the position I’m in now – with a big confession on my hands!

In February, without my parents’ knowledge or consent, I flew to Costa Rica with my best friend for 10 days to visit my boyfriend.  I actually got on a plane—willingly—and took an eight-hour journey to Central America while they believed I was still at school.  The worst part is I had to lie and pretend my cell phone was broken so they wouldn’t call me. 

Almost three months have passed, but I still feel an enormous amount of guilt. 

My relationship with my parents has always had an “open-honest” policy.  My mom specifically used to say to me, “I don’t care where you are going – whether to a party, to a club, or whatever — but please tell because I need to know where you are.”  Because of her openness, I’ve always felt I could tell her anything.  But as soon as I left for school everything changed. 

Suddenly, there’s a whole lot more pressure to be an “adult.”  And being an adult means one thing to my parents and a totally different thing to me.  Sometimes I hesitate to tell them stuff about my life simply because I don’t think they will approve.  I’m afraid they will not respect me anymore as the person I’ve spent so much time trying to become.  I’m nervous, but on the other hand, I’m proud of my travels.  I want to share with them all the wonderful people and memories I made, and tell them how much my Spanish improved in the time I spent there!

Some Regrets

I don’t regret making the decision to go on the trip; it was one of the best of my life!  But I do wish I might have gone with my parents blessing.  I didn’t want to tell them about my trip because I know they wouldn’t have agreed with the money I spent on a plane ticket.  Also, it’s been a very hard year for my parents, especially my dad who has been hit hard by the economic recession, as well as having lost both of his parents just a few months apart.  I couldn’t bear the thought of burdening them with more stress and worry.

I do love and care about them…so much that I don’t want them to worry themselves sick!  But that’s really no excuse.  I should have told them where I was going, because I guess the more adult thing to do would have been to be truthful from the beginning.

I still have not told my parents about my trip.  I feel guilty, but at this point I also feel like there’s no point in angering them by ‘fessing up. 

I have learned, however, that the lingering guilt I feel was really unnecessary.  While they might have been really mad at me if I told them beforehand, I am their daughter and they love me. I’m sure they would have cooled down eventually. 

I guess if I want to continue to have a relationship based upon trust with my parents I have to pull my end of the bargain as well.

Check out what Cindy Richards, TravelingMomWithTeens, thinks about this.

Cassy Tefft is a student at Michigan Technological University who wants to be a travel writer but is worried about telling her parents she aspires to circle the globe in search of adventure. She hopes to one day marry a Latin man who will serenade her daily with Spanish love songs.