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Pushing Past The Comfort Zone

This week I put Number 3 on a plane to study abroad for the summer. Are you thinking England or Spain, some place not that much different then here in the United States? Well that is a big no! I put him on three separate flights that would take him over 16 hours to get there. I sent him to Tanzania to go on safari all summer. Well, I say it like it was all me but really it was a lot more of Kori and very little of me.

Number 3 declared his major, Animal Ecology, half way through his Freshman year. When he came home for Winter Break, he began talking about this trip in the summer to Tanzania to study all the animals in the national parks over there. I have to admit when I first heard him say that, I thought to myself I don’t think I can send my boy across the globe to study in Africa. Of course when Kori heard that, she said just the opposite. “What an amazing opportunity! You should totally go!” Another example of our opposite take on the same topic!

So if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am the conservative, don’t make waves type and Kori, well she wants to sail the seas and chase every opportunity. I suppose that is one of the many reasons I am so attracted to her. She continues to broaden my horizons and our kids as well. Each of our girls have traveled abroad and so has Number 3 but that was a school led band trip to Europe just after his Junior year. This was different. No teachers, no chaperones just him and thousands of miles difference between us.

I don’t know why this one hit me so hard. My wife will say it is because its my “mini-me” and she is probably right. Both of us are wired much the same and the things I like to do are the things he likes to do and vice versa. This is not something I would ever choose to do but I am so proud that he is doing it. The days leading up to the adventure, Kori was out of town so I knew I had to pull my big boy pants up and make sure I wasn’t allowing my fear to get in the way of him and this once in a lifetime trip. I did it and supported him all the way to the gate and thru security and over wifi in Amsterdam and once he arrived in Tanzania.

Now that he is there, I can breathe. He has already called twice on wifi apps and is posting pictures for all of us to see. Now that he is there, I want to experience it all through him and be part of his adventure, but I know this is his journey and I am just here to support him when he needs it. I know the experiences he has over there will forever change him as a man. I cannot wait to see what is next for him. Guess I shouldn’t rush him since he just got over there on Monday and he will be there until August.

In the meantime, I need to spend some time thanking my wife for pushing all of us when we didn’t think that is what we wanted, but it was what we needed all along. It can be an unfriendly place at times when we are pushing back against he, but really what we are saying is we are scared and we don’t know how to do what she wants us to do. At the end of the day, most of the growth that our kids and I have seen is when we listen to her and push through what we think our limits are to where she knows were are capable of going. Maybe Number 4 will have it easier when he wants to go on his own adventure and this time I can lead the charge and allow Kori to enjoy the ride.

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