I have started and restarted this post several times now. I’m not sure if I have the aptitude to fully relate what is on my heart and as others mention in the links I will provide, this is intensely personal.
What is a TCK you ask? It is short-form for Third Culture Kid and refers to children who grow up in cultures that are not their parents. It’s third culture because the child identifies with both the culture they are being raised in and the culture of their “home”, that is whichever culture their parents’ grew up in. They are not truly a part of either. They are their own special group.
I read two blogs this week; one written from a parent’s perspective and the other written from a TCK herself. I’m not sure which one I sobbed harder over. Here they are:
I don’t think I am different from most parents who follow Jesus in that most of my prayers are for my kids. But there’s a whole new dynamic to those prayers when I think of what is to come in the next ten years for my three, almost four, babies. I remember when my little boy was just born; how I would lay in bed sometimes at night and pray until my throat ached with unshed tears and I felt an almost physical pain in my chest. It was my first experience being a mom and suddenly, the world was full of dangers, accidental and predatory and I would pray and pray that God would keep my little boy safe.
I still do this but now it is for the three beautiful children that God has blessed us with and the fourth, still unborn, that will face things that I have never experienced as we move into this new phase in all of our lives. It’s for the physical dangers; disease & sickness. It’s for the emotional upheavals; leaving their beloved grandparents and aunts and uncles, their home & what is familiar and it’s for the darkness of the country we are going to and the spiritual battles; some of which we’ve already experienced here as we’ve committed our family to following God’s leading.
I’ve replayed in my head many of the same fears that the mom in the link above has been through. Am I disadvantaging my children in some way? Will they resent this life that we have chosen for them? Will they feel homeless & insecure like many of the TCK’s whose stories I have read?
Can I say honestly that I dread the first time that my son says to me “Mom, I want to go home” or “I miss my Aunt Scar”? I can only fervently pray that the blessings of the life we will lead will outweigh the pain and the hardships. And truthfully, I do believe this. I don’t think I could go if I didn’t.
My three and four year old are at preschool (an experience we wanted them to have as they may never have the opportunity to attend “real” school) as I sit and type this and my 18 month old is sitting here in my lap, sucking her little thumb and rubbing her sweet, chubby little hand up and down my arm. I am blessed beyond compare. Though there is fear and trepidation, I feel an enormous peace as well. It can only be God-given and I fear it makes little sense to some but I know in my heart of hearts that God is shaping our future, as a family, and that as much as I love and adore my children, that He loves them even more. They are His gift to me, to us, and whatever happens in the years to come; I know that He has a plan for their lives and that He is watching over them. In my humanity, I still struggle with insecurities and fears when it comes to raising my children in an unknown place and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will experience many hardships and I know that I will still spend many sleepless nights sobbing into my pillow over the lives of my babies, but I am thankful that in our weakness, He is made strong.