I should be working on a newsletter but…
My heart feels troubled. I’m a firm believer God gives us experiences to learn, grow, and glean, in order to help others. Naturally, I hope some of those experiences benefit my children someday when they are enduring a trial or two. In the past and in preparation of the future, I have read articles about TCK’s (Third Culture Kids) hoping to educate myself for what my littles might endure. As Miah grows though, the reality that I’ll never fully comprehend her world view has become all too real for my mama heart.
I looked back in her at her carseat hoping to catch a reaction to the man taunting her in the window shouting “foreigngy” at her; I saw no reaction. I was secretly glad and turned back hoping she’d be spared a cold reality for a moment longer. The cold reality that she doesn’t truly belong in the only place she has ever lived. The culture will never fully accept her as Ethiopian, no matter how good her Amharic is or how much injera she eats. She will never be on the inside of a very exclusive club; membership rooted in years of deep cultural pride.
Our sweet nanny often comes in the morning and takes the girls for a walk so I can have a moment to get ready. Today when she came back she was laughing about how Miah reacted to a man calling her “foreigngy”. After 3 or 4 times of reminding her she’s not part of the club she replied, “I’m not foreigngy, I’m from E-topia (as she pronounces it). The words stung my heart as I replayed the scenario and the man retreating in laughter at her response. By no means was he being cruel but he doesn’t know this sweet little girl only associates her life experiences with living in Ethiopia; with many things that his children probably associate with.
You may disagree and proclaim “but she’s American!” Yes, that’s what her passport says, and she is blessed greatly to be part of that club, legally. Legally, I don’t think she yet cares. She doesn’t know a grocery store that has more than 15 choices of cereal or takes more than 10 minutes to walk through. She doesn’t know fast food chains or happy meals or glorious play places that exist so parents can eat baby free. How about school shopping and the first time she walks into the children’s clothing section at Target and tries to pick out a shirt? She doesn’t know what a zoo is or a county fair. God forbid they try to make the poor girl stand in a line at pre-school when we’re home this furlough…
My world was very different than hers. I know balancing between two worlds emotionally exhausts me; relationships here, relationships there… but at least I fully associate with one and function with full understanding as an American. She (they) may never, and maybe someday one of our kiddos will exclaim “you don’t understand!” and I won’t.
Mama heart: broken.