A Different "Normal"

Don't get me wrong. Our length of overseas time has been our choice. It has allowed us different options to see different cultures and experiences. It has allowed us to avoid living in some places that we weren't very excited about. It certainly has set a norm for our children that others don't experience. For one, it has allowed me to stay home with our children, and I am grateful for having that option. I do occasionally miss having more adult interaction and an office space. I currently call the laundry room my "office" since I am in there quite a bit, and it accumulates my "projects" of boxes to mail , things to donate, items needed for an event, etc.

I have had this conversation with both of my parents recently about how living overseas in the military is definitely different for my kids. For instance, they do not bat an eye at the fact that identification cards are always required to enter installations, and a person is sitting with a gun pointed at those entering. Kids at school come and go throughout the year-and that's normal. At least one of the parents of their classmates at school have pretty much the same job (military), and wear the same clothes. I have had my children often grab a leg while we are on an installation and then look up to see it's not a familiar face.

This, for me, is so different than the scenario in which I grew up. I lived in the same house from the time I was two until graduation. My dad still lives in that same house. I went to school with many of the same kids through high school, and some of us went to the same universities. Everyone's parents had different careers and experiences.

These children can name different countries and monuments that they have visited, and are learning different languages and cultures firsthand. I just think it is exciting, even for me to read a book about English and world history and think to myself "Hmm, I have been there". I hope that they will have learned to be more tolerant of differences and appreciate their experiences. I can't help but wonder what they have missed: being able to develop friendships over years; having grandparents and extended family close; experiencing more conveniences like shopping and restaurants (o.k.-that's what I am obviously missing:); realizing that there are many more career options, and that seeing weapons, concrete barriers, fighter jets and tanks is not the "norm" for most kids.

I really don't see this as a bad experience, I just wonder how it will help them develop as a person.

1 fabulous friends:

Bilary said...

I guess the grass is always greener...

When we lived in Houston, (I know that isn't foreign, but it was far away from home for us) we missed family terribly.

Now that we live close to family again, we would like a little space.

I guess my point, just enjoy it while you can. Your kids will be well-rounded and they WILL be more tolerant of others and I think it is good that they don't bat an eye at some of the things our kids would freak out over.

You are a good mom and that is all that matters. You are teaching them good things and the most important, lasting things they will ever learn will be what they learn at home.