And I thought I was an over achiever but clearly I’m not alone in that department in my family unit.  Ha!  Not even close to my two teens.

It’s impossible to keep up when you have a son, who’s ranked number one on his schools Honor roll with a 98% average, school Student Council President and a highly touted choice for Valedictorian…  Then couple this with applications into McGill University (Montreal), The London School of Economics (England) and St Andrews University (Scotland) which he just got an offer from to study International Relations.  Somehow I think that its going to be an interesting spring as the University offers start to come in.

I was incredibly proud when I attended the recent parent-teacher interviews as each of his teachers commented that he had the knowledge and background to actually teach each of the courses he was taking, and that they learned as much from him in the classroom discussions as they felt they taught him.

The beauty of this situation is that Zach is incredibly self motivated both going into class an hour early most days and then after school going to the public library for 2 – 3 hours to ensure all of his assignments are completed well in advance of his submission dates.  Throughout his entire school life he’s never asked for help in doing his homework nor missed an assignment – not sure how I engineered that but its all good!

His passion is politics and history, and so unlike like most kids his age he already has a very clear idea of what he’s going to study at University.  In a recent conversation he said that after his undergrad he wants to specialize in foreign policy, or International Relations possibly getting his Ph.D with the intent of getting his way to get into politics.   Goodness knows we need some new blood  to re-energize our political system and perhaps he’s just the guy to do it!  🙂

Clearly this doesn’t take anything away from my daughter Sami who is also academically strong, but her gifts also go beyond the classroom especially since she’ll be representing Canada in women’s U18 soccer this summer in Israel at the 20th World Maccabiah Games.  She’s always been an incredible athlete, winning athlete of the year at her school and representing them in a variety of sports plus playing for her soccer academy team in the Ontario Senior Women’s League 1.

It isn’t difficult to see why I’m so proud of them.

Both have their respective birthdays within a week of each other, last week it was Sami turned turned 16 and now this week Zach is turning 18.  Okay….seriously where did the years go???

As I said to them recently, I remember so clearly the day they were born as if it were yesterday.  But what’s etching into my memory is the moment that I first saw them and the way that they looked at me. It feels like a hop, skip and jump ago and they were babies in my arms for a late night bottle – now fast forward the years…

A friend asked me recently which was my favorite age, my response was all of them!   Each age is different and amazing, none better than any other.  I’m fortunate that my kids have always been mature for their age and incredibly responsible so no issues with either of them.

So what to get an 18 year old?  Actually he and I got matching tattoos last Sunday…no, seriously we did.  You must be 18 to get one and so the week prior we went in and discussed our design with the tattoo artist, booked and paid our deposit.   He’s been itching to get one and suggested we both get them, to which I quickly agreed.  Nothing more meaningful that a tattoo, and a visible memory that we’ll always have.

We decided to get the Southern Cross star constellation that’s on the Australian flag on the left side of our chests to represent our connection to Australia.  It will be something that he’ll been able to tell stories about to his children long after I’m gone and a nice way to remember a special birthday.

Now for Sam, it was more cerebral in terms of a present in that I got her a gift certificate at her favourite art store.  The expedition to choose new art supplies is always an awesome experience with her, she takes after me in that she’s also very creative and artistically minded and therefore awesome to be with a kindred spirit and share a love of art and design.

What I can say is that my greatest accomplishment in my life so is being a dad – without question.  I feel blessed to have them in my life and sometimes wonder where I’d be if they weren’t… I can’t even imagine.