Five Cities, Five Time Zones, Five Kids

They are in five cities – Cairo, Egypt; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; New York City, New York; Oxford, England.

They span three continents – North America, Africa, Europe.

They live in five time zones – EST, GMT, CST, PST, and Egypt time (which can’t really be described through an acronym)

“They” are my five children.

And it’s not nearly as glamorous as it may sound because I would like to have them all over for Sunday dinner. I can’t help but think it is sweet justice for my mom…. I now know how she felt with kids and grand kids in Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt and the United States.

Annie sits in the heart of Tahrir Square where history was made and continues to be the epicenter of events in Egypt.

Joel makes his home in Chicago, arguably the best city to eat in world-wide. Lake Michigan, the Sears Tower, and Navy Pier are all world-class tourist attractions.

 Micah and Lauren navigate the cut throat world of Los Angeles, home to Oscars and egos.

Stefanie, in an apartment overlooking Herald Square, lives life in New York City and can attest to the fact that it’s the city that never, ever, ever, sleeps!

Jonathan is in the hallowed halls and ivy-laden buildings of Oxford, England, where minds meet and mingle over high tea and classic literature.

At one time I worried that they wouldn’t have the confidence to travel alone. At one time I wondered aloud if they would have a desire to explore their world. At one time I thought that it would be impossible to raise global kids in a small town.

But now as I sit in Boston with their dad, I wonder when we’ll all be together again!

But for now we’ll text, and Skype, email and phone, praying all the while that bonds will tighten despite the miles and eagerly await opportunities to celebrate future gatherings.

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Another Punctuation Mark in the Sentence of Life

two speech balloons, one with an a questionmar...

The suitcase is almost packed and sits open on the floor beside some last treasured books that may (or may not) fit. Passport and other important documents are laid out, the most important pieces to the trip. He checked in online and now it’s just a matter of waiting and last-minute pieces.

My youngest is leaving home.

It’s one more punctuation mark in my life – not a comma, not a semicolon, not a question mark, but a fat exclamation mark typed in Boldface font and repeated for emphasis.

He is the surprise that marked my 35th year of life. He is the blithe spirit who only recently came into his own. He is the one who chides me when I walk too fast. He is the one who loves being served coffee in bed. He is the one who knows just when to hug all the others in the family. He is the baby. 

And he will go to my favorite terminal and board a flight for London tonight at 7:25 pm for a take-off at 8:05 pm. His destination is Oxford where he will read a lot of books, walk hallowed halls and hopefully have some fish and chips in the process.

It is exciting. This is his time — time to learn more on his own, to budget a meager allowance, to not be served coffee in bed. So we’ll hug hard and tight, pray harder, and send him off to a world that needs blithe, a world that could use more hugs. a world that doesn’t always have exclamation points.

I’ve had commas and dashes, ampersands and a lot of question marks in my life, but every time one of my kids leaves it’s an exclamation mark and today is no exception.

So Jonathan – Goodbye and Godspeed.