In theory, this blog is supposed to be about parenting abroad. Instead, lately is has largely functioned to provide selected anecdotes of the various “adventures” that we embark on while living abroad. This is primarily for two reasons: 1) even though we are publishing a blog; we still have a need to maintain privacy 2) I have found parenting (abroad or domestic) to be a pretty messy and difficult business…a business that often we would rather not share with the world.
I’m not a great father. My love is first and foremost for Momma S. This in itself I feel is a breaking of the mythical bond parents are allegedly supposed to have with their offspring. That instantaneous love that a parents is to have with their child the moment when born was absent in my experience. Instead, it wasn’t until months later when this baby became responsive to me that my love grew for him. And even as my love grew and Brother M came around and received my love as well; that love is still secondary to what I have for Momma S.
I have found that the bulk of my parenting has been an endless struggle to get the Brothers occupied with each other, to enjoy independent plan, or to just go to sleep already. And instead of enjoying all of this time I have been lucky enough to have with my boys; I have largely spent this time waiting for them to be playing, either with each other or alone, or to be sleeping, or even simply watching cartoons or playing video games so that I can have that time to be with Momma S.
Momma S is my reason, she is my passion, she fully occupies who I am. Some may contend that I am being a bit overly dramatic here; but, the world is a better place because of Momma S. And perhaps that is a little extreme; but honestly, my lived experience in this world has been made so much richer, vibrant, and meaningful since meeting Momma S. And for those lucky few who have had the pleasure of meeting her, I think you would agree that Momma S is an amazing woman.
Momma S enhances me and makes me a better person. Between the two of us, she definitely got the short straw. But love is complicated and full of funky contradictions. One of the reasons I fell in love with Momma S was due to her fierce, and very stubborn, independence. And that is the irony…she was an amazing complete person before me; yet, I did not feel complete until I met her. Now, this wonderful woman is tethered with a desperately lovesick husband. This blog post is a testament to that. Momma S and Brother M traveled Stateside three days ago, leaving Brother K and I together for two weeks. And while this time I have with Brother K is a gift, here I am pining away for my wife who is only a few days absent.
For the last two hours, I have been outside with Brother K watching him lose himself in his imagination play. As I watch him, I see myself. Brother K may look more like Momma S; but, he is all me in behavior and intensity. Boundless energy, hairpin temper, and a pretty astonishing intellect…not in a traditional book smart intellect, but an outside of the box thinking and complex world-creation focus of a mind. And while I love him completely, he has the amazing ability to get right under my skin and trigger me. I believe that this is because we are so similar and that if two individuals are too similar…conflict is bound to rise. But this gift of time we have over these two weeks has the potential to pull us together and connect in a way that has not been possible when Brother M and Momma S have been around as extra stimuli and focus for us. During this time, while I might be pining away for Momma S, she is not a distraction and competition for my attention to Brother K. (Ignore the fact that I am writing this blog instead of directly interacting with said Brother.) At this very moment, Brother K and I locked eyes from across the yard and regarded each other. We are sharing a space, a moment, and when I asked what he wanted to do today, he replied to play outside with me there too. He wanted me present…though not necessarily to play with. Our imagination play often does not align, so we have learned to be cautious in this as we both find it difficult to compromise. And at this moment, I feel we are content and are both enjoying the shared space and each other in it.
Being a family is about the shared spaces and moments we have with each other across the years. The stories that we share on this blog are exactly that…shared moments of the familynomadic; testaments to the love that we do have and share for each other. And while the love that I have for the Brothers K and M and Momma S are different, it is still all about these shared moments and spaces we have with each other. I love my family, and I love what we have been able to find in the way we travel through, and across, this world. This is the familynomadic.