Feel a Change Comin’ On

I’ve had the lyrics from that Bob Dylan song swirling around in my head these past few days.

Have you ever felt that change is in the air? I don’t mean piddly little stuff. I’m talking about momentous change.

The kind of feeling like you’re standing on a precipice: nothing but open air in front of you and rocks far below.

You can just sense that a choice is imminent.

Remaining where you are isn’t an option. You’ve either got to jump off and trust you’ll fly, soaring to new heights. Or you’ll plunge down the cliffside to what awaits below.

Faithful Adventurers know that this has been a summer of change for me as Son graduated from high school here in The Netherlands and headed back to the US in August to attend university. He is settling in, stretching his wings and testing his new-found freedom.

Daughter is well-entrenched in high school. Each day seems to offer either a gentle reminder or glaring rebuke that she is maturing quickly, well on her way to being a young adult, busy with her friends and activities. Not surprisingly she seems to need me less and less as the days go by.

This is as it should be. It’s what we know to be the natural order of things. As they grow, so should we.

Many of you know what this is like: you’ve launched your own out of the proverbial family nest, dealt with the necessary changes, adjusted expectations as well as actions.

Talented writer, good friend and self-described survivor of ‘parenting across three countries and time zones’ Wordgeyser even wrote a timely series College Bound Kids on expats sending off their children to study or work in a different country. I gained great insight from those posts, thrilled when I could already check ‘yes’ and ‘done’ to several of her suggestions and taking note of other recommendations.

But in the end it is a journey of the mind and heart that each parent has to make on their own.

This week has marked a milestone: for the first time, our family has been spread across three continents.

Back in the US, Son is enjoying an extended weekend in Florida visiting my parents during his autumn break. Daughter is on a service trip to Thailand, visiting Bangkok and helping Burmese refugees in rural Khao Lak. Husband and I are here in The Hague, carrying on life as usual.

Well, not exactly.

Bridge and canal in Amsterdam on www.adventuresinexpatland.comThis weekend we went to Amsterdam to celebrate an anniversary.

Now obviously he and I have traveled together before, but for almost two decades it has usually been with our children.

Since the arrival and Son and Daugher, I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve been able to get away by ourselves over the years.

Old Dutch houses and boats along a canal in Amsterdam on Adventures in Expat LandWe spent two marvelously relaxing days strolling through the parks and neighborhoods of Amsterdam.

We basked in the brilliant mid-October sunshine, enjoyed fine meals and quirky cafes, ducked into museums and shops whenever we felt like it, watched the runners taking part in the annual A’dam marathon.

All the while, in the back of my mind lurked the thought that we were on the cusp of a new life: one in which Daughter would eventually head off on her own path, and ‘home’ would be just Husband and me.

We won’t stop being parents, of course. They will return to us for school breaks, summer vacation and the occasional visits, but our interactions will certainly not be on a daily basis.

Our advice and counsel will be needed less and less. Times change, roles change, we change.

Global parenting is a new thing for me, and if this week has shown me anything, it’s that there will be much more that is different in the months and years ahead.

This week has been a peek into that future. It is at once scary and exhilarating, nostalgic and exciting.

It is a portent of things to come.

So yes, I feel a change comin’ on. Hell, it’s already here.




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