Like I shared last week Tj and Toriah have travelled to the United States of America. They are having the time of their lives. For the longest time Toriah has desired to go to America, I think the fascination was more a result of the television shows he watches. The reality has been a little different. The first shocker for them was that there was no house help; anything that needed to get done was to be done by them. At the soccer camp they attended they were responsible for going for practice on time and keeping their uniforms clean.
There was no mommy to get them up or to pick up after them when they left their clothes all over the place. Finally they were experiencing the reality that I have tried to strum into their heads over the last ‘million’ years. You are responsible for your own space.
When they left the camp and went to visit with my cousin and his family, things were a little easier but they still needed to chip in in terms of house chores. My cousin made me laugh over the phone as Tj shared with her that life in America was not as hunky dory as he had expected. “You guys work really hard!” Our house help and I were doing cartwheels; oooh happy day! No more excuses. Apparently they have been able to keep up.
It reminds me of a comment from a friend a few years back about preparing our children for the global stage. The reality is that by the time Tj and Toriah have their own homes, domestic help will be unaffordable for most people even here in Kenya. It is a wise thing to prepare our children for that eventuality. I was so glad as I talked to my cousin, for the many times I chose to stick it out and force my boys to carry their own weight around the house.
Another shocker for the boys was the fact that freedom is so much more curtailed in the west and most of the children spend their time watching television and playing video games as opposed to playing outside. Both Tj and Toriah love the outdoors and have influenced their cousin who now spends most of the time the yard playing ball, tennis and roller blading as opposed to inside playing video games. He in turn has taught them how to prepare quick meals and pick after themselves. It’s a great arrangement.
Beyond those two great shockers the rest of their experiences have been better than they even anticipated. The toys, the malls the myriad forms of entertainment: the exposure has been great for them. Travelling so far without mum and dad and also having to watch out for each other has made them closer and significantly reduced their cat fights.
They have always been pretty confident but this experience has made them more so and I can pick it up from our phone conversations. As parents, letting them have this experience has helped us appreciate the foundations we have laid while at the same time see the gaps that still need to be appreciated. As a mother the key thing I have gained is preparation for the day when I will finally let them go; I am a little less scared and more confident of the foundations that Tony and I have laid in preparing them for society.