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Is it possible to traverse the world finding mothers who blog in 80 clicks? Do mothers raising children in different places have different perspectives? Catherine at Her Bad Mother teamed up with her friend David to find out. She listed 5 things she enjoys about motherhood, linked to 5 other mom-blogs, and threw out the challenge.

I have now been tagged twice for this meme, once from Robin in Israel, and once from Nan in Trinidad, so I guess I’d better get on it! (Aside: I’m terrible at responding to memes and awards. I always mean to. There’s enough of the junior-higher still in me to be thrilled when I’m chosen. But then I forget, and it seems silly to mention an award you got two months ago. So if you gave me an award and I didn’t mention it or pass it on, thank you very much, I really did appreciate it and it made my day, and I’m ever so sorry for being such a flake!) (Donn is telling you, “Welcome to my world…”)

Right then. On to 5 things I love about being a mother. This is ridiculously hard for me. How can I distill something so grand into 5 little bullet points? Since the reason I got tagged was because I’m an expat, nomadic mother, I’m going to list 5 things I like about raising my children overseas. Question: can I do this without sounding sentimental or like I’m bragging? Possibly not. Just tell yourself over and over again: it’s just a meme, it’s just a meme.

  1. I love how flexible the kids have become. They can deal with layovers, sudden changes of plans, weird food, and things not turning out how anyone would have envisioned. Do they still whine? Well yes, they’re normal. But I’m proud of how adaptable they are. And I still whine too (see many many posts about my poorly-stocked kitchen and frequent moves).
  2. I love having older kids. While I miss the kissable round cheeks and cuddly bodies of babies and toddlers, I am really enjoying having near teens and teens. They’re fun to talk to. They think about things and have good questions. They’re fun to hang out with, and I miss them when they’re gone. (I can’t believe I admitted that) Plus, I can still kiss their cheeks–just that Elliot’s are now all hairy and spotty! The teen years have hit him hard.
  3. Dragging them all over the world has given them a broader perspective on life. When we read of wars in the Middle East, they have friends on both sides. We’re placed so that they hear news from around the world, not just around the country, and even though they’re young, they are beginning to see that there are many perspectives (sample: learning the history of WW2 in a French school. You hear a different side, rather than just the “Here we come to save the day“ Mighty Mouse American version). Having friends from all over goes a long way to cutting down on racism or prejudice as well. In fact, after we’d been in the US for about 3 months last year, Elliot confided in me that he felt strange being around so many white people all the time.
  4. I love it when I see them growing as people. When Elliot spends hours figuring out what to get the twins for their birthday, and spends all of his own money to do so. When Abel goes, unasked, into the kitchen at a friend’s to do dishes, or volunteers to spend his Saturday planting trees at an orphanage. When Ilsa spends hours making special cards for someone she knows is sad.
  5. I love how comfortable they are with people. Admittedly, I have social kids, but they have also had to hone this natural tendency. When you meet a French or Moroccan parent, kiss them on both cheeks and don’t pull a face. When you meet an American parent, don’t kiss them or they’ll think you’re weird. Abel in particular can be in any place for 5 minutes before he’s made a friend. The other two are a little more self-conscious, but they don’t have any problems reaching out to other kids either, although usually in a context of a longer-term relationship.

Phew! Are we glad that’s over? Now I get to tag people. So I tag Nancy and Veronica and Karen (sorry I never did the Honest Scrap!) from the US and Beck from Canada (technically a nation) and Mary, whose blog I adore and who is an ESL teacher in Turkey. She’s a fantastic writer and you should be reading her if you’re not. And Beck, I was totally kidding about Canada. You know that right? I spent 5 of my formative years in Alberta, and people often think I’m Canadian because I pronounce “been” as it should be pronounced and not as “bin.”

April 2009

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