When each of my four kids were born I witnessed, in those first hours, tiny hints of what their beautiful little personalities would be. Jesse, wide eyed from the very first minute, took in all the world with curious vigor and still does. Amy-Caroline hardly cried at all, a trait of toughness that prepared her for three older brothers.  As they’ve grown, I’ve taught them to listen for the tune of their hearts, to live it, to sing it. I say, “The best you can be for the world is when you are singing the song of YOUR heart, not anyone else’s, yours.”

They’ve taken me seriously, and their hearts have led them are all over the globe. I tell myself this is good. They do cool things and contribute to the world. I miss them though. Which is why, after Christmas, my journalist son Jared and I plopped his suitcase into the car and drove the short 12 hours to Washington D.C. where he caught a flight back to his home in Myanmar, a country literally on the other side of the earth. From me. The other side. The fact that we were driving 12 hours to catch a flight was entirely my fault. I set it up that way because he only had two short weeks home for Christmas and I was claiming 12 hours of that all to myself. Twelve precious hours in the car.

We got there in a blink. It took forever for me to get back.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not in one place too long myself, but every time I take one of them to the airport that mother hen thing of clucking all the chicks back into the nest kicks in. I want to get teary and tell them to come home soon. I mean, how can you stay connected half a world away? But I know, too much of this sentimental mother stuff is pure selfish chicken shit. Why would I want to make them feel bad when they leave? Especially when I’ve taught them to do exactly what they are doing? Be yourself, follow God and your heart, live with passion. So, I bite my tongue and send them off with a smile.

Amazingly, here is what I’ve found. Being happy for them attracts them like magnets. They feel supported, encouraged, and like they have a fellow runner in the race. If I cut the apron strings, they don’t need to and I don’t find them running away.

Where does all this happiness and super connection get me? Well, in Jared’s case it may just get me grandchildren that live literally half way across the world. He doesn’t have kids yet. He’s not even thinking about it! But, you see where my mind goes. Oh dear. Still, I’d rather be as tight as two magnets with him living his passions while I cheer him on, than wrestling him back with my apron strings. I want him to give the world the bright, magnificent gift of himself.

This whole principal, the encouraging people to live out their passions, it works not only with kids but everyone. When we find the unique beat of those we care about and say “Hey, I see it!” and join in, and dance with them, it turns amazing pretty quickly because everyone shines most when dancing to their own music.

Most importantly, though, it goes for ourselves. Whose beat, desires, passions are you living by? Are they yours? Are you humming your tune? If not, what’s blocking it?

Anyway, I wasn’t 100 percent great when I dropped Jared off in D.C. I let a little chicken shit slip out in a pout and said, “I’m going to be happy because you are happy, but I want to be sad.” He chuckled and said, “O.K.”

But do you know what happened? He got back to Myanmar, got back to his life and his job and his darling girlfriend, but when a couple of hard things happened to him guess who he called?   😉