Dubai: Christina Decker, our regular contributor was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and graduated from Arizona State University. Christina had a successful career in advertising, and later owned her own agency where she had the opportunity to foster her interest in writing and fashion. Christina has two sons, Cole, aged 17 and Carsen aged 14. Her husband and her moved to Dubai in 2009 with their sons, and not long after settling in Dubai, she co-founded ethical muse, an accessories brand elevating design perceptions of sustainable fashion while make an impact on the lives of others. www.ethicalmuse.com
I won the lottery many years ago and I have been profiting every day since.
It sank in over the course of many years and countless wonderful memories that I am a lucky girl because I have one of the best moms in the world. I won the mom lottery.
My mom gave me many spoken and unspoken gifts. She taught me how to love big, and how to respect and treat others the way I would like to be treated. She taught me that beauty is only skin deep. What’s inside a person is all that really matters. She taught me to be open-minded and accepting, how to share not only things, but also my thoughts and opinions as well. She raised me to not automatically be destined to become a stereotypical member of the only child club.
Being her only child, it would have been easy for her to be selfish and not allow me to travel far from home to attend University because it would be too far from her and dad. But, instead of holding me back, she gave me the best gift I have ever received – wings. Knowing that with a bond like ours, distance wouldn’t matter. It was time for her girl to learn to fly on her own. But, she didn’t just let me fly; her gift of letting go helped me to soar.
It’s hard to believe I am now a mother myself. My oldest is 17, graduating from high school in June, and just finished applying to University for Fall 2014. As his applications were sent to the United States, Europe and Canada, all so far away from our home in Dubai, I try not to let the potential of thousands of miles apart weigh down my heart. Instead I remind myself of the gift I am giving him, to become his own person and forge his own path, wherever it may lead. I mean, that’s the goal, right? To take this baby we are blessed with and guide them to become successful and happy adults, capable of living on their own without us someday. Soaring.
I started laying the foundation for this inevitable journey in different ways when my boys were small. Solidifying our bond through trust, honesty and open communication. Always practicing to be mindful in my parenting, even on the most frustrating days. Teaching them to fly in steps, by encouraging and celebrating small successes of independence along the way and instilling confidence in their capabilities so when the time comes they too can fly.
My heart aches at the thought of letting my son go, as I am sure my mother’s did. I remind myself I have done my best these past 17 years and now it’s time to allow him the chance to explore the world, make his own choices and to contribute and share his talents and perspective in a way that is right for him. I know our bond is strong, that I can’t let the distance matter. Still, it’s hard; much easier said than done. When your children are small you never think you will be at this point, but trust me, it arrives in a blink.
I am forever grateful to my mom for showing me what it means to love someone in that way where you actually feel your chest, deep inside, ache with overwhelming feeling and that person’s happiness becomes more important than your own. It’s not easy to let go, but over the course of the next few months I am preparing to give my son the gift of his lifetime. Wings.