Sunday, March 3, 2013

So, Here We Are...

Sunset, Santorini.  "It looks like a painting.." - Arman

Well, now that I've recovered from jet-lag, sleeplessness, had a breather and have actually stopped pinching myself over and over just to check if the past 6 months were real or not... I think I'm ready to talk. Hmmm where to begin?

First off let me just say, this was the most amazing experience the boys and I will ever share.  As a parent we all have to accept that sooner or later our kids will be all grown up and like it or not will most likely not want to go on too many family trips.  This is a good thing too, we want them to have their own adventures and travel with their friends, experience things on their own and make their own special memories.  I'm just really glad I was lucky enough to have had this great opportunity to do this with the boys and really bond and connect with them on a different level, especially after going through such a tough chapter in our lives...   As they say, nothing brings family closer than a tragic experience.  But let's leave the sad stuff for another blog..

I tried to write as much as I could about our travels and keep you guys posted on the adventure but in my opinion it wasn't nearly as much as I thought I'd write.  Let's just say I was on Greek speed :)  I have a few blogs lined up to cover some of the things we've learned about ourselves, people, other cultures and what we can learn from each other, from our brothers and sisters that happen to live on this planet under different names, cultures, religions etc.  Of course visiting just a handful of countries in Europe isn't nearly enough to see and learn all the wonderful things our world  has to offer but it's a starting point.  Which is kind of what I set out to do in the first place.  To show the boys that there is a lot more to this world than their own back yard, that the things to explore and see span way further than the view from their bedroom window and that they should feel free to reach as far as they can, to try new things and explore deeper than their imagination.  I wanted them to see life in other places, to know that home can be anywhere the heart is happy.  In other words I wanted them to see that there is a whole lot of life to be lived, so much to learn, see and feel.

I felt it absolutely necessary to make them understand this on that very Tuesday afternoon a few months ago, when during one of my conversations with Arman he said to me.."thug life mom, what's the point anyways we're all gonna die one day"...  This is not what you want to hear from an 18 year old with his whole life ahead of him and yet hope is lost from seeing his dad slowly slip away and die way sooner than he had planned and not having had done half the things he set out to do as a young boy.  No my friends, this I would not have, moms don't just sit around and watch the light go out of their kids eyes, hopes and dreams dwindling as the days go by. No! We act! We get up, pull up our sleeves and get to work! That is what being a parent is about.  Glad to report that we achieved what we set out to and so much more...  I couldn't be happier for my boys.

It was a learning experience for all three of us, it was a time of rest, a time of joy, a time of doing nothing and everything.   With a few sobering moments, a few "lessons learned, moving on" moments,  as well as a few eye tearing, belly hurting laughing moments.  Bread was broken, drinks were shared, long conversations took place, cooking sessions and mouth watering food was enjoyed, not to mention the heart warming and soul satisfying moments.  I loved seeing the look on the boys faces when they saw the beauty and wonders around them, with wide eye amazement. They enjoyed seeing me laugh hard and dance, and sing while I drove... They waited patiently at every meal, rolling their eyes at me as I snapped a photo before they could eat :)  I let them lead at times to go where they go and see what they see, watching them from behind.  I learned that boys will always feel protective and respectful towards their moms, this you can not teach, and I love that.  They learned that mom can actually be pretty cool to hang out with sometimes, and I love that too. :)  We learned to let go and just went where the waves took us, with no expectations or direction.  That was liberating to say the least.

As I said a great experience.. a one of a kind, with no repeats or reruns.  We took it all in, especially me.  As I would stop often and remind myself to wake up, open my eyes and have a moment of pure clarity, to realize and cherish each one of those moments.  What can I say friends, I truly wish this on each and every one of you. If not for 5 months in Europe then for 5 hours spent with your kids, listening to the things they have to say and seeing the things they want to see.. The world they let you in and the moments shared are so special, that's what will keep you going through anything life throws at you.

I think life is full of tragedy, pain, sadness and disappointment but we have to have a steady stream of small happy moments on an IV drip at all times, slow, trickling of tiny joyous experiences that will keep us strong in between those sad moments.  Those memories we create, as we close our eyes are all we take with us and all we leave behind as well.
Thanks for listening, stay tuned, more to come.  :)