I Want My Kids to Know Where I Come From ... & Not Grow Up in a Bubble

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Before you become a parent, there's an inner conversation you have with yourself about the type of mom you want to be, and all the opportunities you'll fight for your child to have. With 2-year-old and 11-month-old boys, I do my best (my husband helps too) to try to make sure they have everything they'll ever need, and protect them from unthinkable situations. I just hope I don't put them in a bubble in the process ...

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It might sound silly -- but an upcoming trip back to my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, really has me thinking about how I was raised, the things I experienced, and how my kids will likely never walk down the same path.

What's funny is that my husband feels the same way. You see, he's from Panama, and looks at life in the US much differently than I do. He and I are constantly trying to find a balance in our newfound "country" way of life -- one that's mixed with a little inner city and "third world."

As you can imagine, making the transition from city life (we moved with our firstborn from the New York City area) to life in Oklahoma is quite ... different. Not bad, but, different. In fact, it's a pretty cool place that focuses on family life and Southern hospitality -- and has an endless amount of activities to fill up your calendar each weekend. Even though it's only been two years since we made the jump, I feel good about raising my boys here.

But still ... there's just a part of me that doesn't want to shelter them from the other side of life -- the one I experienced growing up, the one that gave me street smarts and opened my eyes to different walks of life. Every place, every town, and every city has its own set of characters -- along with issues that are unique to that area.

Do I expect to replicate Baltimore in Oklahoma? Heck no. But still, there's a difference here, a more relaxed and trusting way of life, that I don't want my kids to get comfortable in.

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Many of my neighbors laugh and call me "city girl" (I am, through and through) as there are little things -- like not wanting to leave my garage door open all day like they do, or circling around my car before I enter -- that I do that make them laugh.

"Honey, it's not that bad here," jokes Gary, my neighbor to the left. (He's lived in Oklahoma all his life.)

Yes, I do live in a very rural area (I've seen everything from a coyote to a wild turkey cross the road like NBD). And, thankfully, crime where I live isn't a huge issue that will keep me waiting up at night for my kiddos when they're older. But, just because my way of living is now 'laxed these days doesn't mean my guard isn't up.

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Now, I'm not advocating that my kiddos and I take a field trip to the hood for a day so they can earn a gold star or a merit badge. I just want them to have exposure to different circumstances and people that doesn't include watching the news and saying, "I could never imagine that happening," or feeling superior to others dealing with tougher times whenever they decide to be good people and give back. (So many people have the latter mindset, and it makes me sad.)

Isn't it funny how we promise ourselves to provide a better situation for our kids, and then get nervous when we feel it can shelter them -- or put them in a box? Don't get me wrong, I am protecting them from experiences they'll (hopefully) never have to deal with in life.

But that doesn't mean I'm for their growing up and not seeing the other side of the coin.

 

 

 

Image via Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

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