TCK is a term now making regular appearances in our parenting conversations. It won’t be long now and we will be raising Third Culture Kids (TCK). Our little ones will never be fully Canadian as they grow up away from Canada, but they will never be fully Thai as they will come home to Canadian parents, traditions, worldviews, and cooking (still not sure if we can find a whole turkey in Thailand). Their culture will be a hybrid of all these things – it will be a third culture. It is this culture we, the parents, will help create and that process has already begun.
We’ve begun selling our things through Craig’s List and the like. Unlike our return from Poland where we shipped most of our stuff, this time we are liquidating. It made financial sense to ship before but this time it makes more sense to sell and re-buy. We’re now living in an all-but-lampless home and we keep reaching for phantom lighting which is no longer there (they’ve been sold to other light-loving homes).
For our first volley of sales, we organized a time where people could meet us in a parking to collect their merchandise (formerly our goods). We brought the kids and played in the adjacent park while waiting on our happy purchasers. From the back of our van, on the side of the road, we began to lighten our material load. We didn’t realize it at the time, but Daxon was taking special note of people leaving with things we once called our own.
In the days that followed, Daxon began having “accidents”. Not even while potty training did he rack up as many misses as he did during those days – nor did they seem so accidental as he dropped his shorts to facilitate the accidents. We were frustrated. We were confused. We were not putting together that this was a sign of his own stress level. It clicked for us as we were taking pictures of an item to sell. Daxon had literally never seen this item we had just pulled from storage and yet he sprawled himself across it and declared, “you cannot sell this. I love it”. CLICK. We got it. he wasn’t having accidents, he was marking his territory! (no more BBC nature shows for him)
We got down on the floor with him and Daxon curled up in our laps to cry silent tears. It is a moment we will never forget. Amidst the tasks of transition, we had overlooked the heart. We, the parents, had made our plans, but failed to bring our Littles into all parts of the conversation. We are moving as a family. We succeed as a family. We fail as a family. We need to engage this transition as a family.
We’ve since talked this through and have overheard Daxon explaining to others how when we sell things here, people give us money, and money is easier to carry to Thailand than a couch. Harder moments are still to come as we downsize toys, books, and other kid paraphernalia. We, the parents, remind ourselves that it is not the trappings of childhood that provide our mini-humans with their sense of home. For now, home is where Mom and Dad are with them.
Already we are building a culture for our TCK’s. In this culture, we, the family, are better in team.