Parenting a child with two passports changes the game a bit. It’s a constant lesson to The Sprog that yes, you are American, but you are not. You are also British. You will be living in a constant state of diplomacy as far as Our Special Relationship goes. Get used to it.
The first parenting lesson one tackles when living in the United States is the matter of the American Revolution…you know, that little skirmish. Fortunately, having a mom who has her bachelor’s in American History is a bonus. I was able to explain how the colonial population was equally divided over the matter and the subtler nuances of the story where the sun did not completely shine out of the Founding Fathers’ behinds. It made for a more informed child and a father who felt less inadequate.
But it goes beyond revisionist history. As of this writing, the U.K. is part of the European Union, so legally, she can work or study in any of the E.U. countries. In contrast, many of the people who live in my area are Chicago natives and expect their children to go to college fairly close by and probably settle near home. While The Boffin and I are preparing The Sprog for life, we have to be cognizant that she may choose to live thousands of miles from us in another nation, just like her father chose to do with his family.
So any urges we have to put her in a box to protect her from the Big Bad World has to be crushed with a sledgehammer because we would not be doing her any favors. We have to gradually give her more age-appropriate responsibilities and hope we are doing the right things. And we can’t forget the importance of foreign languages. Hebrew is on the docket now, but Spanish is coming this fall.
But how can we prepare her for the fact that even though she may be legally able to be in Europe, the moment she opens her mouth, some people will automatically brand her as “less than”? The Ugly American. The Embodiment of What is Wrong with the World. Fortunately, far more people are kind and open-minded than closed, but I don’t want her to walk away with bitter heart because of the few dickheads who can’t look past their own bigotries.
I know I am rambling, but I am thinking about this more and more because she is 10. We are rapidly having less time with her at home, and I just want her to be as ready as possible for the good and the bad. The Boffin tells me to wait until the issues arise because I am being a little quixotic, and there is wisdom in his words.
But I can’t help being a mom.