One of the goals of our international move was providing our children with options in life. We wanted them to be comfortable living in both the USA and Europe and to speak more than one language because the world is becoming more global by the minute. We wanted them to be flexible and open to life, jobs and educational opportunities because we believe that adaptability is the key to success in the global marketplace.
It is a strange thing when you get what you want in life, however. Getting what you want leads to other issues. You see, one day I realized that my kids are comfortable in both worlds. They are no doubt Americans and Californians. Proud and true to their homeland, brethren and state, but they move through different cultures and countries with ease. They have friends from all over Europe. They speak 3 languages and navigate buses, trains and planes with confidence. They go out on their own using public transportation and walking around at night - something that is the norm here but inconceivable to me if we were still in the USA. My son is applying to universities in the UK and my daughter stated that she doesn't want to return to the USA until after high school. Her reason being that she has heard too many stories from her friends in California about the pressures of homework and creating the perfect resume for college entrance.
It is very possible that one or both of our children may end up living in Europe. And with that realization, my mind starts spinning and panicking - how will we see each other if they are in Europe and Joe and I are in the USA? How will we spend holidays together and summers with grandchildren? I live with a chronic illness that leaves me tired on a good day and exhausted on about half the days of the month. Add jet lag to the mix and it takes me weeks to recover. The trip from California to Europe and back is hard on me now at 52, it will only get more difficult as each year passes.
I used to feel restless at home in California. I wanted to explore, get out in the world. That feeling has now been replaced with a new different restlessness as we have come to understand that we have no idea what town, state, country or even continent we will ultimately end up on.
But then I take a step back and realize that this is what we wanted. This is what is best for our children. They have their own lives to lead and I as a parent have to prepare them as best I can and then let go. As hard as that may be.
Buddhist teachings tell me to stay present. To stop focusing on the future and "what if" scenarios that may never come to pass. Instead I need to focus on the here and now and realize that a bit of my heart will always lie in California, a bit in Illinois, a bit in Italy, and a bit in Sweden and Denmark. But the greatest part of my heart, and thus my home, will always be where my husband and children are no matter the physical location.