Opportunity to go to college in the United States after working my buns off at a highly academic high school in my home country of the Netherlands? Of course I said yes! I was 18 years old and ready for adventure! Never mind, I’d never been to the U.S. (even on vacation). While I was never a fan of standing on tall ladders, I was not afraid to jump on that plane, make new friends in a foreign country and work hard on earning my college degree.
Fast forward many years and I’m now a mom, married with two teenage kids, settled into adult life in the Pacific Northwest. However, as some of you might have read on my instagram, I recently traveled back to the Netherlands to care for my dad during his last days of life and help my mom with all the arrangements after his passing.
It was an emotionally intense time as you can imagine. At the same time, even with all the sadness, I appreciated the opportunity to spend more time with my extended family and family friends, speaking my first language Dutch and enjoying some typical Dutch treats.
Saying goodbye to my mom after everything we went through and now being half a world apart as she tries to navigate this huge transition in her life, has been very hard. I’m incredibly proud of her as she has been very strong and positive but of course, the distance is too great for me to just plop down on her couch to have a cup of coffee and talk, whenever either one of us feels like that. Reflecting on this time, I’ve become achingly aware that my heart truly is in two places.
Should I have said no to that opportunity when I was so young to avoid this heartache now? Of course not. Besides the fact that I didn’t have that foresight at the time, I would not have wanted to miss the part of my life’s journey that includes meeting my husband and kids whom I all love so very much.
As I try to grapple with the realities and long-term consequences of a choice I made so very long ago, I want to share I’m very thankful for:
Have you ever felt that your heart was in two places? Do you live at a long distance from your parents and extended family? Have you ever made a choice while young that was most definitely a good one, but still had long-term consequences for your current life?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Thank you for reading my story and sharing yours!
P.S. Thank you also for sticking with me as I had to close my etsy shop for a whole month! I've already been receiving orders since I opened up again and will be shipping orders through the holiday season.