“How can you be a good parent, if you don’t make sacrifices for your children?”

The excitement in her voice was palpable as we discussed the plans for the trip to London.

My son’s friend kept saying “sure, uh huh” to joining us on this trip, but it wasn’t confirmed until only a few weeks ago. He kept telling me that his parents were “thinking about it” so I had to keep the space open to the POSSIBILITY of him going, all while still moving ahead with plans for just my son and me (booking accommodations through VRBO for three people costs the same as for two so I started there).

I just nervously kept an eye on flights knowing that they would mark the “point of no return”.

Now that they said “yes” we’re all scrambling to get the passports (that expired during Covid, thank you very much). Appointments are tough to find, so it’s like being on The Amazing Race. We’ll make it, but with just moments to spare.

Friend’s Mom gets it. Of course, she sounds more excited than her son. Friend, like Teen, is all “Uh huh” and “I guess” and “I dunno” about it… but that’s OK. They’ll get it when they’re adults too.

I’m thrilled that he’s joining us. While there would be a teeny-tiny possibility that a trip alone would open new lines of communication between father and son, I’m sacrificing that in exchange for enjoyment he’ll get by experiencing everything alongside a friend. (You know how boring us adults can be).

I’m betting that Friend’s excitement will ignite Teen’s spirit.

(I mean, Teen’s already asked if he could bring his Xbox, so you can see what I’m up against here.)

So back to Mom. She is so grateful for this opportunity because while she would do anything for her son, taking him on a trip to Europe was just not a possibility until now. Sharing expenses will help everyone, so I’m beyond thrilled to share the experience.

Flights are now booked, as are all our accommodations. It’s a wild, wonderful mix of places. From modern with a panoramic view of London, to a quaint cottage near Bath, built in 1750, to an apartment just feet away from a theater where I performed at the Edinburgh Festival in my youth… you know, the late 20th Century.

I plan to share one of my favorite pancake houses, My Old Dutch, then take them to the British Museum. There’s the Jack the Ripper Museum (Teen asked, “who’s that?”) and we’ve got tickets for a High Tea cruise down the Thames. I shouted, “It’s very British!” while Teen just rolled his eyes.

The one thing he IS excited about is that (believe it or not) there’s a Star Wars Convention the weekend we arrive. He already plans to buy a sword there and thinks he’ll be comfortable carrying it around the whole two weeks. He also doesn’t see a problem with bringing it on the plane. Can you tell he hasn’t travelled much lately? (I told him to plan on shipping any souvenir of this sort, so wish us luck!)

And of course, of course, of course… the reason behind the trip… the Gallery Reception, is on Wednesday Night. This the pinnacle of my art journey and I’m so thrilled to have them by my side. Sure, they’ll be bored. No, they can’t go do something else. I know this still doesn’t qualify me for Cool Dad of the Year, but I don’t care. This moment is bigger than all the little things that make the journey possible.



While we’re still quite far away from a fully funded trip, we really couldn’t get this far without the generous support of friends like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m still offering products and portraits to those who want to come along on this journey. Donate here: or Venmo @StuRosenArt. Every bit helps.

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