Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There is nothing wrong with a normal life

I love normality, sometimes I even love the mundane. When it comes to the children I think its even more important. If you were lucky enough to have a happy childhood, why was it happy? I loved the routine of fish and chips on a Friday night after swimming. Rolls and sausage and buying my favourite comic on a Saturday after shopping. Christmas time with all the family in the one place. Bedtime stories. Normal fun, cosy, safe, loving, warm family life.

I have been watching 'My crazy gap year' on ABC. If you have seen it, this blog will make more sense. Essentially its about relatively rich western families taking a year out to have a pretty crazy adventure. Tonight's episode featured a genuinely lovely family who decided to take their 7, 10 and 13 year olds on a 10 month driving adventure through very remote Africa. We are not talking elephants and tigers but scary, scary bandits on the Sudanese border where foreigners have been attacked. They drive a shithouse 4WD which breaks down on a regular basis and near the beginning of their trip, they actually crash the car by completely losing control. Its pretty insane.

I've always considered myself to be a little more flippant than average, a little more fly by night and try to appreciate why people choose the life they do. Here it comes, the BUT. When it comes to kids, I think its so easy to forget, that life is soo exciting and new. They are not as jaded as us adults and don't necessarily feel that need for extreme adventure which includes placing yourself in very silly and dangerous circumstances. When I was watching the seven year old girl sitting bored out her face in the car, in the middle of terrifying bandit country, waiting for her dad to fix the car, it made me a bit angry and sad for her.

Lots of us have been fortunate enough to have had that pretty idyllic, safe childhood but so many kids don't. They come from broken homes, abusive parents, war torn countries. Their childhoods robbed forever. That's why it gets up my nose when these, usually, white middle class westerners decide to go on these 'crazy' journeys with their kids because they think it will enrich the little ones lives.

I am of course speaking as someone who has uprooted her kids once before and is about to uproot them again but in both instances to a fairly normal, settled life  and not adventure for adventures sake. I know I'm being very judgemental and each to their own but still. I love the fact that I can give my kids such a loving family environment. I thank god every day that they get to have a mum and a dad around who love each other and them enormously. I thank God that we get to choose between living in two amazing, beautiful, stable, safe countries. I thank God we are all healthy and happy, especially them. Whilst I am blessed to have them to look after, everyday life is more than enough adventure for me.

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