When I was your age — An Expat Dad’s Note to His Kids

when i was 13Listen up young lady.  You too young man.

When I was your age we knew the value of staying in one spot.  We planted roots and they ran deep.  We didn’t run off galavanting on some fancy schmancy airplane or traipsing through some foreign country trying to speak some crazy language that sounds like jibber jabber.

We were solid.

We were stable.

We were strong.

When I was your age things were different so listen up.  I need you to hear this.

I LOVE YOUR LIFE.

Let me tell you why.

I had roots but you’ve got more.  I can see them.  They’re not deep but they’re strong . . . and they’re all over the place.  In fact what I love about you is that you could plant yourself anywhere and still grow.

I sure couldn’t do that when I was your age.

when-i-was-8You won’t graduate with the same friends that you went to preschool with BUT when you graduate you’ll have friends in every corner of the world.

I never dreamed of that when I was your age.

I know it sounds weird to say but I love that you can’t answer the question “where you are from? . . . and you may not be able to pinpoint where home is  . . .

But you will ALWAYS know when you are there.

Back then I was either at home or I was homesick.  I love that you are almost always both.

Honestly I was a little sad when we came here because I was realizing that you would never really connect to things like fireworks on the 4th of July like I did when I was your age.

Oh my.

Chinese New Year.

I had no idea what people could do  . . . what they would do with tightly packed gun powder when I was your age.

I feel robbed.

I love that you’ve still got my holidays but you’ve got a whole new set of your own too.

I was afraid that you would get left behind on things like pop culture and maybe you have . . . a little . . . but you are miles ahead of me on culture culture.

Miles.

Such a good trade.

I NEVER had to say so many goodbyes.  That’s a hard one but I want you to know that there is NOTHING in the world like, “hello again old friend.”

You’ve got a lot of those coming.

img_4196When I was your age, four hours in the back of a Buick was a long trip.  Made me tired.  Needed to stretch.

Six hours was just dumb.

Ha.

I love that no place on earth will EVER be too far away for you.

I love that you see things through different lenses than I did.

You can look at a globe and it makes you think about people . . . real people . . . friends with lives and bossy older sisters and bratty little brothers.

When I was your age I just saw stereotypes with big funny hats and soccer balls.

I love that you hear things through a different filter too.

You understand the thickest accents and empathize with the struggle to communicate . . . I rarely even heard an accent and when I did I just mocked them . . . because that’s what we all did . . . and now I regret that.

I missed so much when I was your age . . . because I thought I already knew it.

when-i-was-3You have tasted bugs and sea creatures and plants and meats that I never knew existed when I was your age and I love that you always share your seaweed if you have enough to go around.

I had Taco Bell once when I was your age.

You’ve smelled the foulest, most repugnant stank and you’ve learned to wrinkle your nose and move on with your day.

I made a HUGE scene . . . and toilet jokes . . . and rude noises with my armpit for a week.

 

I do need to say though — 

I don’t love it when you fight like cats and dogs.

It’s not my favorite when you whine about your chores.

It drives me nuts when you leave your Legos on the floor.

And I question my competence as a parent when I realize that you would play video games for a solid week and eat nothing but ice cream if I let you.

But those are the golden, magic moments when I realize — you’re not at all different than I was when I was your age.

EVERYTHING around you is — but you and I  — we are the same — and even with all of the fancy schmancy airplanes and 36 hour trips. Through all of the mess and the moves and the hellos and goodbyes.

img_0793Through all of the transition.

Through all of the chaos.

We are solid.

We are stable.

We are strong.

Just like when I was your age.

I love you young lady.  I love you young man.

 

And I truly love your beautiful global lives.

 

tcks

 

Love your kids?  Love their lives?  Let them know.  Let the world know.

 

 

 

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