West Meets East

The beauty and pain of being a TCK

Raising children that live overseas definitely has it's pro's and con's.  My children demonstrate elements of the positives and negatives at different times and during different seasons.  One of the difficult factors of being an expat living overseas is that the average length of time any family lives overseas is around 3 years at a time.  So, we live in a world in which May and June are FILLED with goodbye parties (some permanent some temporary) and every August/September we are saying "hello" to a whole new group of people.  This is our cycle of momentum. . . sad goodbyes in the spring. . . looking forward to new friendships during the summer months and then the welcoming and beginning of new friendships in the fall.

This spring and summer we are saying goodbye to 5 families, all of which have played significant roles in our lives at various different stages of our lives here.  Some have been life mentors, some have been peers, some have been playmates and friends and some kindred spirits.  We have done our share of crying, stomping feet and occasional "It's not fair!" paired eloquently with a slamming door.  The latter, I assure you, has not been me.  My daughter has made lists of people in our lives and crossed off names of people who will not be staying (ouch!) and she has created a way of blessing leaving people with breakfast treats, baked for them (with my assistance).  My 7 year old has also made a new list and circled the names of those who are staying and made "staying gifts" for them instead of the traditional "going away gift" that she has been accustomed to.  And me? I've just cried. Sometimes laying awake at night and thinking about what our "new life" will be like with these dear friends gone and all I can do is cry.  I've written a few notes, bought a few special gifts and tried to make space in our busy lives to spend some last quality moments with these dear friends whose friendships will not end but will change with their move - pedicures and girls nights will never again be so easy to coordinate with them.

Even if you have not lived this crazy expat life, I think you can imagine it's hard, yes?  My 7 year old could not sleep last night. She was preparing to say goodbye to whom she refers to as her "current best friend"- who is leaving for New Zealand in a permanent move.  She came out from her room and I could tell she had been crying and asked if she could have a piece of paper and some markers. She told me that she had an idea for some special picture that describes how she feels.  The picture I posted above is what she created on her own during the next 20 minutes.  I just sat and watched silently, wiped away a tear every now and then from my eyes (not hers).  At one point she asked me for where in the Bible is that verse about being  perfectly one in Christ.  I didn't know, but my husband did. We opened the Bible to John 17:23  "I in them and they in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you have loved me."   Abby got excited when we read it and said that is exactly what she was thinking about. . . that even though we are night and day away from each other, we are perfectly one. We are under the same moon, the same stars and the same sun.  She is very grateful for her dear friends who share her faith in God and who have always been encouraging her towards loving Him even more!  

I tucked her in last night and then took a picture of her artwork.  She intends to give it to her friends today, but I think it is such a beautiful piece to her processing her life and processing saying goodbye to her dear friends that I wanted to be able to hold onto this memory and share a bit of it with you.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my word. how beautifully perfect and sad. this is how I feel being in the military. thanks for sharing.