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Moving around

published: 2009-05-11

This weekend, I met up with five classmates from high school who I hadn’t seen in a very long time. Seeing them felt odd, almost like I was coming home after a really long trip. All of us had gone to International Schools which means our parents’ jobs had taken us to various countries in the world. 
The question then being: how does a childhood like that affect your grown-up life? You would expect we had all become nomads ourselves. We hadn’t. Half of us had decided to stay firmly put in Holland. Why? Because all that traveling around had been traumatic. The other half still wanders the world, moving from country to country. Clearly, the latter half enjoyed their nomadic childhood very much.
One of my classmates now lives in Canada. After school he had lived in Oman, Saoudi, Dubai, Curaçao and will most likely move on. We discussed how our perspective on things has changed ever since we had children ourselves. For example, I am no longer angry at my parents for having been uprooted so much. In fact, I even like to believe my man and I could move with our son. But if we did, I would approach it differently than my parents did.
I said to this classmate, “I think you can move with children, as long as you prepare and help your children say goodbye to the things they are attached to. They may like to thank people who have been important to them. Give them as much time as necessary to do all that.”
Interestingly, he disagreed. He said, “It’s like a bandaid. A fast removal limits the pain.”
I wondered about these different approaches for a while and have come to the conclusion: when wondering about what’s best for our children, we must stop looking at ourselves and only look at them. Whatever the situation. It sounds very easy, only a parent will know it’s not.

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