That time the boy left his comfort zone and zip lined across the Zambezi River.

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I’ve always been a daredevil. Well…a safe one. My motto is “YOLO, but don’t die”.

The boy, on the other hand, has always proceeded with caution and lived vicariously through me. When I skydived, he was supportive and even expressed interest in doing it one day, but then was nervous about jumping from the top ladder on a climber at the park. He has aspirations but rarely leaps before fully assessing all possible risks.

When we traveled to Southern Africa for spring break this year, we visited Victoria Falls and I told him that I was thinking of jumping off the bridge. He was extremely supportive and said he would even record the event on my phone and take pictures. When we arrived at the bridge, he decided that he wanted to do it. However, the only option for him to do anything remotely close to that was to do a tandem zip line with me. We took a break for lunch and to take in the scenery from the bridge. Even while looking at the feat he would have to conquer, he insisted that he was ready.

At this point in the day, they were closing up shop so it was now or never. We signed up and waited to be harnessed in. The entire time, the boy was quiet. I was constantly asking him if he was okay and if he was sure he wanted to do i. He insisted he was okay, keeping his game face on. They explained the rules and safety to us and strapped us in.

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At this time, the boy got really tense. I think he started to reevaluate all his life choices that led him to that point. He, of course, was in front and had a premium view of the drop and held on to the cord with dear life. As his mother, I know I wasn’t supposed to laugh, but to see his mixture of anxiety and regret in my child’s face, one that I had NEVER seen before, was slightly comical to me. Asking him one last time if he was sure, he maintained his gangster.

We were given the count down and…”bye bye”. We were let go and the next thing I knew we were soaring through the air. It was the most glorious 13 seconds ever. Well…maybe longer than 13 seconds, but it went really quickly.

With a Go Pro in hand, I tried to simultaneously record our reactions and take it all in.

There is this shift that happened as we were floating across the sky. At one point, you’re insanely stoked that you’re 39 stories above crashing rocks and possibly crocodiles and excited and then completely overwhelmed at your kid and realizing his bravery at that moment. It was amazing. That’s the only word I can use right now to describe that experience. Even in reflecting while writing this now, I still can’t come up with anything above amazing.

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But that’s my kid. Absolutely amazing and constantly surprising me with his courage and acts of bravery. Not just with conquering an unrealized fear of heights, but with the resiliency and courage it takes to move away from all you have ever known and trust your mother to move thousands of miles away. He has been nothing but supportive and understanding and I couldn’t have asked for a more incredible child to raise and grow with.

Excited to see what shenanigans he gets me into when we move abroad.

My heart is 30,000 feet in the air.

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For the first time in his 8 years of travel experience, the boy boarded his first flight as an unaccompanied minor to fly to Kansas to spend part of the summer with my mother. I freaked out a little bit on the inside.

But I didn’t cry. I did good. IMG_2145

He, on the other hand, was awesome. I’m constantly blown away at his bravery and resilience. Flying alone for an eight-year-old can be a scary thing. Especially when you’re used to flying with someone at all times. I know he is and will be fine. He’s a pro at this point. I’ve raised him to be an experienced traveller, even if I wasn’t fully prepared for this day. He’s used to the routine, so I know he’s good.

But this mama bear is just over protective of her one and only cub.

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Oh, the side eyes I get just for being a mom. Safe travels, love. I will see you soon. ❤

Parties, piñatas, and the last day of school.

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The past month has been a blur. All the days have blended into one big mass of stress and boxes. The logistics of moving 9,000 miles away has become more than I anticipated. And work has been a disaster. I’ve had to crunch 2 weeks of work into one because such is life and nothing ever goes as planned. But this past week has been good.

This week, we were able to say our goodbyes to those we love and those who love and support us.

Earlier in the week, we met with friends and had a picnic in the park. We hula hooped, played Uno, and did some AcroYoga in the warmth of the beautiful sun. I have to admit, that day was the most relaxed I’ve been in the last few months. It was definitely the beginning of a really good week for the both of us.

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Today was the last day of school and it was filled with all sorts of emotions that I wasn’t exactly prepared for. I bought a piñata to the school today and it was hilarious to watch the kids break it open. The boy started things off and each kid in his class took a whack at it. At the end of it all, it was the boy who gave the final smack that sent the kids into a frenzy. It was good to see them able to come together one last time before we left. After the dust settled and the children ran around with their shirts full of candy, I was able to sit with his teacher, Jane. She had been in our lives for the past 3 years and has been a huge influence in his development over these years.

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When he came to the school, we experiencing a few transitions and it was challenging for him to adjust to kindergarten. He wasn’t verbally expressive and began hitting kids at school. But Jane was patient. It wasn’t easy and it took us about a year and a half to figure out one another, but eventually she grew to learn the boy that I loved and trusted her with him every day.

But here we are, on the last day at the school. And I am saying goodbye to an extended family that has loved and supported us these past few years. I am so thankful to the school for helping me raise this boy into the incredibly social, adventurous, loving, and caring kid he is today. I’m proud to be part of the Project Learn community and will terribly miss everyone here.

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Some of the boy’s friends from school at a going away party.

It’s amazing to think that you can be strangers with a group of people, most of which you have no commonalities, and grow to love and support them and feel that love and support returned. I hope we find that same kind of community in Cambodia.

In fact, I’m sure we will. Immensely thankful for the experiences I have had over this past week and for those loved ones we were able to say our final goodbyes. This week has instilled a new calm and made the transition a little easier for the boy.