Today it hit me, wells of emotions came rushing from nowhere and shook me from the inside out. My son is going away from his family core to begin his own life away from us, away from what we call home at this moment in time.
I am excited to see him at this stage of life where he is going to find out who he is, what he is made of. At the same time, I am anxious to find out whether we were able to prepare our son sufficiently during the past 18 years for this monumental step in his life.
In spite of our fears and those of our friends and family, living overseas has proven to be challenging, but it has also been fulfilling in more ways than one as we have been able to find our best in every situation. It has given not only me but my wife and especially our kids a wider view of the world. We are living an adventurous life filled with wonder and expectation.
For the past eight years our kids have grown up in a multicultural environment and, as a consequence, their world is a lot bigger than mine was when I was their age. They have friends from Korea, China, Sweden, Africa, and the UK. They now speak at least two other languages besides English and understand that it's ok if they do not understand others around them. They will fit in no matter what their environment is in their future, I know this.
My kids have learned to be compassionate yet joyful and exuberant. The oldest has an eye for photography, a keen interest in showing the world how he sees it through the lens of his camera, and a knack for excelling in school. He is a bit of an introvert but able to manage relationships well.
The other loves music and has learned to play the guitar, now learning the piano and the bass, as one instrument does not seem to be enough. He loves being with people and is a true extrovert, quick to make a friend especially if someone needs one. He loves kids of all sizes and colors, and what is amazing about him is that all people, both kids and adults, respond well to him.
And, yet, still the fears of a father creep up and play havoc in my mind as I see my oldest son earning his rite of passage into his own life. I will miss our time together in the desert, among ancient ruins along the sea, or walking around town discovering the best lighting and framing for that special photograph. But what I will miss the most are his daily hugs before going to bed.
I love you, son!
About the Author: Tony is the IDEAS Director of Project Operations for North Africa and Lebanon. He and his family reside in Tunisia and enjoy calling this their home. Check out other blogs by Tony, such as: How Are You a Mover and Shaker?