It was bound to happen, at some point. During the course of this travel year, our teenaged kids have grown taller than their parents. Our son has inched up over everyone else in the family and our daughter is not the shortest. They were each very happy when they passed those milestones. My husband not so much.

We were asked the other day, have we noticed a change in our children over the months since we left Canada? At first blush, my instinct was to say no. I mean of course, this growing taller business counts, but have they really changed otherwise? Their personality and character are pretty well set and I don’t think any amount of travel at this stage in their lives will greatly alter that. Or has it?

If I consider this question more carefully, I think there has been a huge change which happened slowly. Now that they are learning what life is like in many places around the world, they have a unique perspective. We all do, but for them it is different.

Part of being a teenager is having a fairly narrow view of life, often very self-centred. This enables a precision split from the parental unit. Breaking away and venturing out on their own is a very natural part of life in the western world. Been stuck with your parents in a car, on a plane or other foreign living circumstances does not allow the normal transitions.

But in their worldview, they are changing. They will not be the same kids going back to their life in Canada. That may disrupt some of their social circles, in a way they cannot see right now. Being so far away, on different time zones and only communicating on social media, it is hard to say how their friendships will stand the test of time and distance.

Our family dinner time conversations are much more lively and interesting than they ever were before. This has to do with both of my young adults being aware of the world around them. They notice situations, people and life circumstances with fresh eyes. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are enlightened. This is not the renaissance. But they are not going through this year shut off from the world around them. Which is how I feared they were becoming when we lived at home.

In our old life, they would be at school all day and then come home and head straight to their rooms, without so much as a hello. If there was any conversation of how their day was, it was trivial. The evenings would be spent doing homework or going to activities and then off to bed. Repeat. Weekends they slept as late as they possibly could from being out or up as late as they could manage. They wandered through those 48 hours in a daze. I knew very little of what they really thought about it all. It was so similar to my own teenaged experience I didn’t think twice about it.

Then I would get a brief glimpse into it all and I did not like what I was seeing. The social pressure they were under, whether real or imagined was intense. The desire to fit in and measure up had them tied up in knots. It is only now, thousands of miles away and months in the past, they are both starting to untangle it all. 

Now our regular conversations, which occur several times a day, circle around a myriad of topics. I often have to sit on my hands to keep from jumping in and taking over. I want them to freely express themselves. This is golden and I just love it. I want to have a recording of it all as to not forget a moment. But, what I love most is the feeling of their voices. The honesty which pours out of their hearts with very little hesitation. I will miss that.

I fear that life will go back to normal when we get back home. The routines of daily life will engulf us all once again. There is no way to stop that, I know. But for now, I hold tight to these last months. It almost feels like we are the swiss family robinson, separate from others, on our own little island. We often can’t communicate in the local language, but we understand enough to buy food and go about our routines, whatever they happen to be that day.

I guess the other thing that is about to happen is that our kids will launch in to the world on their own. First my son, about a year or so after go home. Our daughter will follow two years later. It has all happened so fast. Each day they get a little bigger and smarter, until they pass us by. Such is the way of the world.

#creaspatreat – Join me in this creative journey. I am on a mission to start a global movement, focusing on the importance of creativity in our daily lives. Together, let us see where we can take this. I look forward to hearing from you! Please share your thoughts. Feel free to send an email to: Christine@dailycreatives.com

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Christine Westermark

I am a world traveller, lucky enough to have a loving family who support my dreams to learn, create and give back by designing creative content which enables a lifestyle we don't need a vacation from.

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Our kids have outgrown us

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