The two most common questions we received after Matt’s post about returning to medicine were, “How does Lindsay feel?” and, “How did the boys react?” You have heard my side. But were we able to “sell” the boys on the idea?
Family meeting time!
We have always had family meetings but since we started planning for this adventure, they’ve changed a bit. Matt and I will usually introduce the topic, explain the why’s and how’s and then open it up for discussion. A couple of our kids can articulate their feelings pretty quickly. I think this helps to set the tone for those that aren’t so quick to respond. We get it. It’s not easy to process change. Matt and I will try to anticipate their questions and concerns and proactively address them in our “proposal”.
The boys were aware that we were looking into the possibility of a home base but weren’t bugging us about it. They didn’t even press for information when they caught us looking at houses on Realtor.ca, trusting that we will come to them when we’re ready.
Once the boys were gathered together, Matt started off by explaining the reasons he needed to give medicine one last chance and the benefits of having a home base. We talked about homeschooling and all the resources we could access. Lastly, we brought the conversation around to how this new life would give us the flexibility to continue traveling.
It was time for the boys to share their thoughts and feelings. Despite the look of shock on a few of their faces, they made an effort to see the benefits of the decision, rather than their fears and apprehension. Amazingly, our boys have developed an ability to see the good in most situations, most of the time. It wasn’t that long ago that we proposed a year of traveling; then we proposed selling everything before we left: then we proposed sailing after backpacking and now, here we are proposing a new plan. Perhaps we have forced them to be adaptable?
Flip flop parenting?
Are you starting to feel sorry for our kids? . . . I get it. A good friend of mine once commented that Matt and I seem to “flip flop” a lot in our life choices. My response was that we “flip”, but don’t “flop”; it’s not forward and back, it’s always forward, changing, and hopefully improving.
I hope this encourages our boys to roll with the punches and to realize they don’t have to feel “stuck” in a life choice. Adaptability is an important life skill. Or, maybe this is how I justify our choices so I can sleep at night. Who knows? This whole parenting thing is a bit of a question mark.
Over the next couple of days, Matt and I fielded many questions. As parents, it is fascinating to watch your children process change. They would talk with one another; they would ask us questions that popped into their minds; or sometimes, they would wait until they could steal a private moment with Matt or myself. This was their way of understanding the new plan.
Surprisingly, no one was upset. The minor disappointments that they had were shared with Matt and I. Owen was concerned about having to go back to traditional school. Jake gets a little anxious any time he doesn’t know what to expect. Ben was disappointed that his epic real-life geography lesson would be put on hold. And Eli said he would miss the adventure of discovering all the places we haven’t seen yet.
Looking out for the team
Traveling has made us open to the world and also to each other. This family meeting was a great opportunity for the kids to help answer the question: “What do we want our life to look like?” I think we are all realizing, that WE get to decide this together. If things aren’t working for us as a family, we can change it. We are viewing this move back to Canada as another adventure. It could last a year or even five years. Who knows?! Nothing needs to be written in stone – I think we are more pencil and eraser kind of people.
New phase, new plans
Within a few days of our family meeting, the boys got together and spent hours planning a clubhouse they would build together in our future backyard. They had drawings and schematics and even made a model out of PlusPlus blocks. They were so serious that Owen asked Matt if he could help figure out the cost of materials. The two of them sat down to discuss headers and joists, lag bolts and decking. In the end our frugal kids declared it to be “way too expensive!” – besides, they figured planning and building was probably more fun than playing in the clubhouse when it was completed. Well, if they are anything like their parents, that’s probably true! As you know by now, we love projects but once they are completed, we love moving on to something else.
As the weeks went by, the doubts faded and the excitement grew. The boys had daily discussions about the things they were looking forward to. It will be interesting to see how long it will take before we get the itch to travel again. I have a feeling that I will be first!
Let’s hear from the boys: How do you feel about the new plan?
“I am excited about our new plan. I like that we are going to have a blend of what we love about traveling and what we love about staying in one place, for example, we will be homeschooled, we will be near an English library and we will have consistent wifi for optimal education. I am also anxious to see family and friends again. I am excited to possibly have my own space and not share a bed most nights. I am looking forward to making things again, for example, robots, science experiments and food with my mom.”
“I am excited to go to Peterborough so I can get my Lego back! I love building with Lego! I am also looking forward to riding a bike again. I am excited to get a house and to see my relatives and friends. I am also excited to go fishing and camping again. I am hoping to get a job raking leaves, shoveling driveways or babysitting. I am happy that we will be getting allowance again.”
“At first, I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be traveling. But then I realized that we would still get to travel but I would also get to have my favourite things back. I really miss my Lego. I don’t think I would be happy about this plan if I didn’t have my Lego.
I am excited for our future trips because we can choose any direction from Toronto. This year, we have been trying to travel in one direction to make it around the world.
I am really excited for homeschooling. We will be able to have more supplies because we have a home. When we are traveling, we can’t bring much so it is hard to do hands on activities.
I am also excited to ride a bike again. One more thing, I can’t wait to read an actual book again. We often have problems with my kobo and I don’t love reading on my tablet”.
“I’m excited to go back to Canada! I’m excited because I will be able to play with Lego, ride a bike, read an actual book (not a kobo!) and maybe renovate a house with my family. I am excited to see our relatives again too. I am also excited to not have to carry my heavy backpack everywhere. I am happy that we will still get to travel but we will have a home too”.
Moving forward together
So, there you have it. The boys are okay. Apparently they can survive anything as long as they have Lego, a few bikes and the possibility of more travel in the future. It’s a great feeling that we are all looking forward to the next phase of our family adventure together.