A friend once told me that the most terrifying part of parenting is seeing your own weaknesses come to life as you watch your kids grow.
It’s a bittersweet sort of feeling to realize that your kids are mini personifications of your fears, weaknesses but also your strengths in so many ways. It’s so scary to face your own fears yet a remarkable thing to see them grow up into their own person.
And one of the most beautiful parts of parenting is seeing your kids relive some of your happy memories as a child. This week, we are in Minnesota where I grew up and enjoying some lake time with the sun, sand and water just like my childhood. Seeing my kids splashing around and swimming where I spent my summer days growing up has me all sorts of nostalgic remembering what was in many ways an idyllic childhood.
Parenting is such an interesting ride. I obviously write and speak about it a lot on the blog and the podcast as I’m trying to figure out how to tread these unknown waters.
It’s a balancing act that didn’t come with an instruction manual. We are all just doing the best we can. We learned some things from our parents yet are choosing to do some things differently. And at the end of the day, I realize we all have the same desires for the little humans in our care.
We all want to give them the best opportunities to grow and learn. Living abroad has its perks for sure as cost of living is less as an expat and raising bilingual kids is a built-in blessing within our home.
Yet, the one thing we do miss while living in a country where neither of us grew up in is not having family around. Zoom calls and Google Meets are something that we’ve been using for 10+ years now to keep in touch with our family that lives far away. And with many in the world having used Zoom for work for a few months, we know it’s not the same as seeing people you love face to face.
Every time our kids talk to their grandmother (Nana) on a call, they ask her to go down to the basement to show them the toys. It’s definitely not the same experience as it’d be to actually play with Nana’s toys.
So when we were recovering from Coronavirus and hearing our kids ask us every 14 minutes if we could go to their Nana’s house, we decided to start looking at options. It’s hard living far away and not being able to just drive to Grandpa and Nana’s house.
And weighing the risks of traveling during the Pandemic, knowing we’d take precautions and making sure my parents were ok with a visit from us we made a spontaneous trip to Minnesota this summer.
We’ve been here just for a week now, and watching the kids splash around in the water, driving the boat with their Grandpa, coloring with their Nana and helping water the lawn while looking for bugs and other critters outside reminds me so much of the happy days I spent here in Minnesota in the summer. (Minnesota winters hold very different memories).
There’s a sort of magic found in the nostalgia of seeing your own children fall in love with something you once loved as a child.
It’s bittersweet knowing we won’t be able to fly home every summer, Christmas, holiday or wedding while choosing to be expats, raising our kids in a culture and climate radically different than our childhood homes, yet it makes the short visits that much more special knowing they can enjoy the best parts of the life we once knew.
And though there are parts of parenting that are terrifying, there are parts that are beautiful and I wouldn’t change our lives for the world, including living in a different part of the world.
Living abroad is a wild ride at times, especially in the middle of a Global Pandemic when many fear not being able to see loved ones for an extended time, but as my friend Raffaella talks about on Episode 8 of “Embrace La Musica”, living abroad allows you to take the best parts of each country and tradition with you as you move on to the next place.