Never again – words that a mother might cry about
August is one month that can bring tears to a mother’s eye. It is not so much the growing up, the changes that summer brought to your family or even the fact your child will never be in this school grade again. It is the fact that change has happened and it is possible that as a mother you will never again have that moment in time.
I used to measure my start of a new school year with the type of notebooks my children wanted to purchase or the style of their backpacks. Sometimes it was the kind of new shoes to start the school year with. Now it is measured in ‘what my kids care to share with me.’ Never again – will the start of August be the time I am needed to ensure that this school year (year) starts out right.
For an Expat Child – sometimes the changes are massive
Often an expat child will start August in a new location. Many times this is with their family unit, so the change is manageable. They still have everyday things around them and standard family rules to obey.
Then they move out of the family unit and head off to university!
This is a milestone for all children but even more so for an expat child. Most kids are giving up the convenience of having mom and dad help them. Or someone to do the laundry and to cook.
Expat children are giving up someone who does laundry and irons each piece of clothing. Never again will the expat child have underwear that is ironed and folded into tiny little squares. Never will his cargo shorts have the seams folded and ironed together. Never again will his t-shirts be wrinkle free.
Also, he will not find his refrigerator always full of clean fruit and vegetables. His meals will not always have salad or soup with fresh bread and butter. His meals might just consist of one item, a cup of soup or a bowl of ramen.
He might find his shoes are dirty and no one thinks to clean them up after a rainy night on the busy city streets. The old dried crud on his book bag might never get wiped off. Ever.
He might not have the luxury of getting batteries for his math calculator or strings for his guitar by just writing a note and leaving it on the kitchen table for the maid or driver to pick up when she/he is out and about.
He is giving up the driver that drops him off at the front of the movie theater. He is never going to have someone stand by the side of the car and wait as he has last minute talks with his friends and then just jump into the car and know that the driver was not mad because he had to wait. Never again will be he 100% sure his designated driver has not had a drink.
Expat children often lose a ‘village’ when they go off to college.
The hardest part for many expat children when they go off to college is the fact they often also lose at the same time…their family home. Many expat families try to coincide their work move to line up with a transition of schooling for their children. This means the kid moves off to college and the parents pack up the home and move to a new location. Now the college kid does not even know what ‘home’ is like because they have never even seen where their parents are now living.
This is a whole new type of “growing up” and expat children around the world do it so well.
Please share your child’s most positive achievement during this time of growth.