Redefining What Mobile Means

Growing up, I was mobile, we were about as mobile as they came. My Father got his marching orders, we packed, we moved, and we plunked ourselves in a new country, with little contact to the rest of our family. My Father, orderly to a fault, would make sure our basics were met, food, clothing, shelter and school. The rest, was up to my insane Mother, who was blind to all warts, she saw every new country, even in its war torn stage, as a new, beautiful adventure. Between the 2, we were immersed in a countries art, food, language, and political state. It is how I fell in love with the anthropological side of every country we ever stepped foot in.

That state of mobility, had its advantages. I never had roots, I never had to make a deep and lasting friendship, I never had to love a country or a people for longer than 3 years, I knew I had an escape. That mobility, that sense of needing to leave, would later bite me right in the arse when I met my husband, and had a baby of my own.

My need to see the world, but also give my son a sense of community, and a sense of place has been so important to me. I have had conflicting emotions over the last year, full well knowing, I need to stay, I need to create a home, something stable for my son to always come back to. I wanted him to feel that he had other adults, friends, mentors, and sports that he could lean on. I, having grown up mobile, never had any of that. I was talented, so talented in keeping people at a distance, that my Father groomed me, to keep that distance in pursuit of a career that truly made me ill. What I learned in all of it, was the day my Father died, I had no one outside of my immediate family. I had made sure I kept everyone at a distance, and my parents mobile life created the perfect opportunity to not have my own community that I could lean on when I was grieving. In fact, our mobility, crippled my core without knowing it, while also making me need that sense of adventure that only travel gives.

So, I have set a plan. I have been reaching out to old friends, and I am going back to my past. I am revisiting countries that were significant to me, and finding those souls that meant something to me, but were long forgotten. We are making a home in one place, and I have opened my heart, for the very first time, to having people visit, to us being mobile enough, that we hop on a plane and visit friends.

I want my son to see, I am not afraid of having roots, but also making those connections around the world, because my roots are in fact, around the world! It dawned on me, I can have both, and I can love the adventure of both.

So where is my first stop. Well, it will have to be Ottawa of course!

Dip Kid

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5 thoughts on “Redefining What Mobile Means”

  1. Like your family, we were a close foursome, but both my parents made sure to keep us connected to our extended family in the US. Home Leave meant Minnesota and South Dakota, where my parents were from and where my sister, my daughter and I are headed in a few weeks for a reunion with aunts, uncles, and cousins who are very dear to us. Our parents gave us the world, but they also gave us roots that have outlasted their lifetimes, and we are so grateful to have each other now that our parents are gone. I look forward to hearing how your reconnecting goes!

    1. You are very fortunate. Having that stability is so important when growing up. Every parent does what they think is best at the time. To be honest, I truly don’t think either of my parents knew how to keep in touch, or even how to put down roots. Both were mobile military brats, my Father lost the majority of his family during the war back in the U.K.

  2. Thank you for sharing some of your story with us! As an expat and one who became a mom of third culture kids, I have thought of whether my children will have a sense of roots and feelings of belonging. I also really want them to know our families and to somehow feel connected to their birth cultures. I am American and my husband is Nigerian. Our children were born in and are currently being raised in Korea. For me, it really has been a figure things out as I go, but I also feel I must have some intentions in place to help shape their cultural identity. Great post! I look forward to reading more.

    1. That is a pretty fun mix of cultures, Korea is on my bucket list, in fact, I was almost posted there!! I think it is all in how you approach it. Being from a Diplomatic family, my parents separated lives dramatically. We didn’t have a community in Canada, except for some family. Since we lived in war zones, we never had visitors. When we did see family, I didn’t really identify with their WASPness, lol! My only advice to anyone who is raising third culture kids, is let them help build a community around them, it could include teachers, shop keepers, business partners who knows, and don’t let go of that community even if you move again. My parents severed every single tie we had to every country we ever lived in, which almost broke me as an adult. My Father kept in touch with people for business reasons, but he had to keep private for security reasons. My Mother on the other hand, suffered from depression and just couldn’t help us keep in touch with the community we had built in each country. My parents instead kept retreating back to family that I certainly didn’t feel welcome or identify with because it was easy. – this is probably the start of a whole new post, lol!

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