As a parent, it’s my duty to ensure that my son grows up in a safe and healthy environment, though no matter how cautious I am, unpredictable perils will always be out there. I’ve come to the difficult realization that I can’t protect my son from everything, but if I lock him in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, then at least I’ve narrowed the threat down to just seeds.

It’s illogical to think that I’ll be able to shield Ethan from every single danger that he encounters in life. But I can seal him behind an airtight door within the remote Norwegian superstructure that protects seeds from all over the world in the event of a global calamity, which would drastically reduce the variety of hazards he’d face on a daily basis. Neither he nor I would ever have to worry about him getting hit by a car or kidnapped by a stranger. The only remaining threats would be seed-related, and while potentially dangerous, at least he’d know where they’d be lurking.

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Is it possible that Ethan bumps into a shelf and knocks one of the Svalbard seed storage containers onto his head, giving himself a severe concussion? Absolutely. And is there a chance he’d slip on a rogue seed and fall backwards, cracking his head open? Yes, there is. But I take great comfort in knowing that Ethan will never be bullied or drown in a lake once he’s securely in the vault carved 390 feet into a remote Arctic mountainside. For a parent, that’s an incredible relief.

I’m not going to be there to hold Ethan’s hand through life, but I will be there to hand him a plane ticket to the Svalbard Airport. This isn’t to say I’ll ever stop worrying about his well-being. But it’ll give me peace of mind knowing that as long as he doesn’t forget to wear a jacket in one of the sub-zero-degree seed storage rooms and freezes to death, or accidentally inhale an amaranth seed, he should be largely otherwise okay.

I’ll miss Ethan when he’s locked inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, though I’d like to think that someday, he’ll thank me for being such a good parent and raising him right. That is, of course, assuming no freak fatal seed-related accident takes him out before he can. But by teaching my son to be extremely cautious around seeds, and then sending him to a place where seeds are the only things that can potentially bring my little guy harm, I’ve truly done all I can do as a parent.

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