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October 10, 2013

Each and everytime I’m away from my family it seems to hurt just a little more.

It heightens my sense of mortality and emphasises just how fickle the balance in all of our lives is.

Fortunately it also reinforces just how special it is to have such a tight and close family tie as we have within our family of four.

I am constantly amazed by our children and their wonder at the world and ability to take on what they do, and do so with such aplomb. I love very photo I see of them, every word they say or any story i am told – I am constantly in awe.

Just 1

Just 1

And yet every gift is two edged – I firmly believe this – and we have many ‘tragic’ examples to illustrate it – within the arts the most obvious (Beethoven, Van Gogh, Morrison, Cobain…).

For me being an Expat is two edged. We get to explore different horizons and challenge what has been before and rethink what can be in the future, however you don’t get to count on now as being tomorrow, nor tomorrow being what is today. What is familiar belongs in another time and another place, what is unfamiliar is almost everything whilst the same everything is faintly familiar and strangely different.

What to wear, what to say, when to arrive, when to leave, what to order, when to pay or not, what to tip, when to tithe, how to give, how to not give, how to be giving, where to stand on a political platform, how to be neutral but not ineffectual, how to absorb but not be gullible, how to spend your time but not waste it, how to relax and still move forward.

And for our girls – when is being away for a while too long, when is my absence setting and example and when is it being an absent father? How do we know when we are building strength and fortitude and when is it abandonment, loneliness and doubt? When does strength become weakness or confidence become a facade for fear loneliness and insecurity?

Of course I don’t know, but I can tell you that most every day I ponder these things. And as a two edged gift I’m glad that I do, and wonder which of these things I would think of had I not become and expat, had I not been fortunate to be crazy in love with Chrissy and full of dreams and wonderment for my children, who have rounded my life out and challenged my thinking in so many ways.

I never hope to live vicariously through my children, yet everytime I look at them or think of them I wonder if what I do is the best that I can to help them meet life full on, to not fear it and to grow to happy and fulfilled people, who may indeed grow more of the same. And in a selfish way I hope they will know that I was there, offered up what I could , loved them with all my might and whether here or not, I am always with and for them and yet strong enough to always be myself.

A moment when i missed them most

A moment when i missed them most

And that creates edges that if we are not prepared to ride, limit what we can be, what we can give and how we can live our lives. I now realise that for me finding a way to live close to those edges – both sides – is what drives and transforms me. The broad path below, either side, ¬†is not wrong, it’s just not for me. At times I admire those who can adapt to the constancy provided below the edges – which ironically keeps me from those who have much less on one side and those who have much more on the other.

What it is they have more of, or less of, is not clear, but I know I tread between the two. And I wonder where my girls will live, and where they will be happiest. I’m constantly prepared to shift my balance to help them find theirs – because to me everytime I think of them; they are every thing to me.

What a wonderful two edged gift that is.

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