Part of our experience of settling into Cambodia has included the experience of those not in Cambodia; those in Australia who are settling in to no longer having us there. This post below is from my parents and gives another perspective on the whole settling in, a settling without. Having left home many years ago, I returned–a boomerang child–but this time with a family. We lived with my parents for two years before coming here to Cambodia. Below are some of their thoughts post us leaving:
What’s it like to now have them all disappear from our everyday lives and for us to no longer be busy with the activities that were part of having them around us?
At first it seems surreal, like they are just away for a few days and will soon be running around with us again. I even came in one night and was about to tell my husband to turn the TV down so he didn’t wake the children. It doesn’t seem necessary to put away toys and left over clothes “because the children might need them”. And then there’s a few tears as we realize the distance that now separates us.
There are also thoughts about how they are all going. Have they been able to settle in ok? Are they able to get around safely and perform the normal routines of life in a safe manner? Can they maintain their health in very different circumstances? How will the children manage such a big cultural shift? Are they feeling alone in a new place where communication is in a language they don’t yet know?
So how does our faith in God speak to us in these circumstances? We know that the best place for our children and grandchildren to be is doing what God wants them to do. We feel blessed that they are following God’s guidance for their lives. We know that God loves them and watches over them way more than we do. Our children and grandchildren are in a better place than many others that live comfortable lives but don’t know God. This of course doesn’t mean that what they are doing is easy. So we pray that our children and grandchildren will be given the strength they need to keep doing His will.
As a child that left with the parents to go where God led to another country, I know that children are very resilient, and tend to adapt well, sometimes even better than the parents! They learn the language quickly, [and forget it quickly when they stop using it!] make friends – children can play together without language! – enjoy different foods, even cope with boarding schools! The up side of today’s generation is they can Skype/FaceTime with grandparents and other family members, You will be ‘Flat Grandparents’ not able to be hugged, but they don’t lose touch with their ‘other world’ as we did. Grandparents, you won’t be strangers when you meet again, and it is much easier for you to visit them too.
Then, we have also been the parents taking the grand-children away from their grandparents, but only to the other side of Australia, not the world!
Now we are the Grandparents who has had grandchildren on the other side of the world, but who are now closer.
In all situations, God has kept us close, blessed us and shown us we have all been in the places He has led us to.
May God bless you all, and continue to show you His love and purposes for where you all are, and what you do. Love from us both, Libby
Thanks for that reflection. You’ve been in each situation and that brings a wonderful wholeness to your wisdom. I love the term ‘flat grandparent’ as the one you see on a screen.
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