I was sitting at O’Hare airport last night when a man turned to me with his computer and said, “Would you let your 16 year-old sail around the world alone?” I thought he was joking. Then he showed me the headlines.
Ah yes, another subject for my parenting hall of fame. OK, here’s my rant – WHAT IDIOT ALLOWS THEIR 16 YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER TO SAIL AROUND THE WORLD ALONE?!?!
Apparently the answer is Marianne and Laurence Sunderland of Thousand Oaks, CA. The conversation must have gone one of two ways: Abby, the 16 year-old came up to her parents one morning and declared that she was bored with school. “Hey mom and dad,” she must have said, “how about I leave for a while and sail around the world? I’ll keep my curfew every night on board and this will be just as good an education as going to school.” Now what parent wouldn’t say yes to that?
Or, scenario 2 – Like the “Bubble Boy” case in CO where the parents wanted to get some attention for a potential reality show for themselves, the Sunderland’s thought, “Hey, Abby’s got a good head on her shoulders. Sure she’s only 16 but I’m sure she’ll be OK by herself in the middle of the ocean for however long. And, if she makes it, we could probably get on The Amazing Race with her!”
Yesterday Abby was reported missing but thank God she’s been found alive in the Indian Ocean 2,000 miles from either Australia or Africa without a mast or rigging. The nearest search and rescue ship is at least 30 hours away from her position but she sent a radio signal that “she was fine.”
Meanwhile, mom, dad and her six siblings sit awaiting word of her fate.
Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.