Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017
Off to Alaska
My heart is full right now as a dad, and I admit my eyes have a bit of water in them. My son Easton just headed out the door of our ocean front beach house and is headed for Alaska. This marks the close of a special time in Ecuador. It has been an incredibly unique period and a special year for us. One that many parents don’t ever get to experience with their kids.
At 26 years old, after living on his own for 8 years, Easton boarded a plane with Heidi and I, and came to explore and navigate Ecuador alongside us. That was in January of last year. Then in August of last year at the end of his Peace Corps service, our older son Chase, now 33 and on his own for 15 years, joined all of us in Ecuador too. Hence began this very special time in Ecuador.
What a cool experience it has been for me to hang out on a daily basis with my sons as grown men. Watching these two brothers poke each other in fun, and also push each other to be better men, has been a delight for me. They have pushed me to be a better man as well.
Family and Friends
No longer responsible for raising, teaching, and instructing them, Heidi and I have been able to share, learn, and work together with them, as a family and as friends, navigating this foreign land. It has been a phenomenal experience and special time in Ecuador together!
We have all participated in so many great, and sometimes not so great, experiences together since we arrived here. Discovering the ins and outs of navigating a new country, learning Spanish, packing, moving, and re-establishing ourselves in one city or another, we have done it together. Up until now.
Easton has chosen to work the summer on a fishing boat in Alaska. He leaves not having a job but knowing he will get one. Having done his homework, he knows what he needs to be able to offer a Skipper to take him on. Easton has worked his network and connections in advance, and now, as he boards the plane heading northward, things are in motion to help him secure a job.
Chase is heading back to the States in May. He wants the job he was offered with US Aid, yet the hiring freeze remains. And he also knows how to take care of himself. In late May he will be on a plane to South Korea to teach English if nothing further develops with US Aid. His life continues, as it should, once again on its own path separate from us.
I am proud of Easton for taking on new experiences, and his refusal to let fear or uncertainty get in the way of what he wants to be doing. I’m proud of Chase for knowing how to navigate his own life in a direction of his choosing. I already miss Easton, and I know I will miss Chase just as much when he leaves in two weeks. More than anything though, I am so proud of the men these two sons of mine have become. That’s why I have water in my eyes.
How unequivocally special this time together in Ecuador has been for us as a family. Easton’s plan is to return to Ecuador, and if and when he does, Chase will be living somewhere else. This is the dynamic of life…it moves toward change, and so does our continued journey in Ecuador.
Special Time in Ecuador
I will look back on this year for the rest of my life and remember the intense competition Chase and Easton had almost daily with each other over chess, the victor taunting and teasing the other. My thoughts will go to our time spent learning Spanish, trying to communicate with the locals, and one of us being there to help the other when eluded by a word. I will remember their words to me, “Tranquilo Pops” when I let one of my many triggers set me off.
Life is such a blessing in the unique and special moments it offers. Heidi and I have already been blessed in so many ways, and we can add this time spent with our adult sons as one more we are so fortunate to count.