Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Christopher on his next chapter /adventure

Today, my son Christopher departs for the Netherlands and a year at Maastricht University for a Masters Degree in International Business.

He decided what he wanted, worked toward it, and accomplished it.

As he has done his whole life.

Sometimes it takes a while for Christopher to know what course he will persue.  But there is little doubt that once his mind is set, he will make his way to the top.

Let's take swimming.  We put him in the water at 18 months.  Both Lee (his Dad and my husband) and I are swimmers and love the sport.  Christopher loved the sport.  At 6 years old, he was swimming 100 yard races.  At 14 he swam his first mile (and promptly lost lunch.) As a senior in high school, he was swimming at the Quad A level in USA Swimming: an elite level.

Let's take business.  As a junior in high school, he took a job working at a local produce business. By the summer after his senior year in high school, he bought the business.  He grew the business, learned its intricacies, purchased a truck, stands, licenses, signage, built relationships with his farmers and customers. For 12 weeks each summer until this last, he worked 18/7, getting up each morning to make the drive to New Jersey so his customers could enjoy day-fresh produce. He has since sold the expanded business for a nice profit.

Twice he has traveled to South Africa, participating in game capture, serving as a safari guide, doing community support, and helping to set up water purification for the indigenous people.  Interacting with them allowed him to understand and perceive that their simple lifestyle is often more rewarding than our fast paced modern lifestyle.

My boy has brought me much joy with his joie de vivre, his big personality, his unbridled enthusiasm, his ability to express emotion, his deeply held convictions. How he whistles around the house. How he wrestles with our Labradors.  His love of bon fires, hot wings, juicing, bad weather, Christmas decorations, and now this new goal.

What I am most grateful for is his character.  His ability to show honest empathy.  Integrity.   The fierce desire for justice for all, which he inherited from his father.   His curiosity.  The type of intelligence that absorbs everything around him, and applies it in new and original ways.

I will miss him terribly.  But I am glad to know he is out there, in the world.  I know he will bring his qualities to all who interact with him.  And I know our connection will last no matter where in the world he is.  If the world can hold him...

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