I am constantly in awe of how resilient my kids are. The life of a Foreign Service trailing family is not for everyone. We are never in one place for very long. Just long enough to get comfortable before we are “uprooted” again. I keep telling myself that it is good for the kids. It all teaches them independence, social skills, and resiliency. It builds character.
This particular move has been especially hard. We are in the US for 9 months. Not even a whole school year, because we arrived in late October. We are all crammed together in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment with absolutely zero personal space of any kind. None of our “stuff” is with us. There are virtually no toys, no books, no personal items to make it feel like home. It is all sitting in a warehouse somewhere in East Asia waiting for our arrival in Beijing. It is wearing on everyone, but especially on the kids.
There have been times when we have really wondered if we are doing the right thing here. But then there have been moments when I know we definitely are.
Yesterday was an absolutely glorious day. To be truthful is was hot, but after the seemingly endless winter we’ve had in DC, it was very welcome. The playground was chock full of kids. I pretty much forced my son out of doors. He was less than thrilled when we first got outside.
BUT, within 5 minutes, he had found some friends and was happily playing some made up game. Within 15, he was riding around on a borrowed bicycle. This was what really got me. He hasn’t ridden a bike in almost a year. I was absolutely in shock to see how easily he just picked it up and took off. It was “just like riding a bike”.
As I watched him, I started thinking about how many things are like this for our kids because of how we live. They have mastered the art of being the “new kid”. Each move, each new country, each new school, they jump right back in. They make friends and form new bonds. They have also become those kids that welcome newcomers because they know that feeling.
They also fall right back in with old friends. I am always amazed when I see our kids with their friends from our old postings. They have an ease that I’m not sure is the norm. There is no awkward first day, no “hey, we aren’t in to the same stuff anymore”. They just jump back in.
They do the same thing as soon as our household goods arrive. They actually start planning on how to make their space their own as soon as we get our housing assignment. When the HHE arrives and the boxes open, they set to work. They make each new place home just like it was their old room before we started trailing across the world (with updates as they grow up, of course).
In these moments, I know we are doing the right thing. We are stretching our kids just enough that they grow, but at the same time have the opportunity to fall back into familiar rhythms. Just like riding a bike.