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November 15, 2005

Our Happy Slavic Bubble

Each of our boys has come to me in the past week or so just breaking down in tears. They were convinced that they had no friends, that the rest of the family doesn't like them. . . Normal kid growing-up stuff, but for them it was the end of the world.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to make the analogy, but being a parent is like having an exposed nerve from the day your child comes into the world. Worse, there's absolutely nothing you can do to cover this nerve up. When they hurt, you hurt, and there's so little you can do to prevent it. Having lived and been homeschooled in Ukraine for most of their lives, this is their first year in the 'real' world. I miss our happy Slavic bubble.


This is something I've resisted writing, resisted sharing. Yet, here it is. It hurts to see our children struggling so much. It hurts when they know God loves them and we love them, but they don't *feel* that love around them.

We had a stranger yell at R6 at the grocery store the other day. Unjustly. The adrenaline surge, fight-or-flight. Mama bear showed up.

Aunt Laura from Kyiv is going to (hopefully!) be spending New Year's with us, in true Ukrainian fashion. T7 said, "Aunt Laura is one of my five most favorite people in Ukraine. First Babushka, then Aunt Laura & Aunt Fluffy. . ."

It helps that the elementary principal and the guidance counselor both have spent many years overseas and many years working with MKs. They've kept a special eye out on our boys. Been reassuring about what they see at school. For the most part, it seems like school is less stressful for the boys when they are there. But they feel safe and secure at home, and so they share all their struggles and sadnesses with us. Which is a good thing. Just a hard thing.


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I know all about this.

My 16 year old daughter has had some hurts lately, and I just couldn't concentrate because I felt so sad right along with her.

It must be difficult adjusting to new situations. I hope things improve for your dear boys.

Btw, your hubby came and left me an encouraging word at my blog. He's a gem.

Posted by: Kim in ON at November 15, 2005 07:46 AM

(((Hugs))) No advice. Just sympathizing with the Mama Bear. She comes out in me too...

How great for your boys that they have such sensitive, aware parents going through this with them.

Posted by: Megan at November 15, 2005 12:49 PM

I think the most important thing is the stable, secure loving home. With that they will be able to handle the rest :)

Posted by: Amie at November 15, 2005 02:52 PM

"When they hurt, you hurt, and there's so little you can do to prevent it."

I can sure relate to that! It becomes a little better when they are teenagers, but the habit is still there. Sometimes, I find myself wondering if my mother felt the same way about me. Then I call her to say hello!

Posted by: Theresa at November 15, 2005 03:01 PM

I can only imagine how hard it is for them (and you) to make this transition. I can only try to relate by remembering the first year we were here in Louisiana after living in Illinois for their entire lives. It's not a different country, but still, it was hard. They had to start over with making friends, school, everything. It got better. And I can only pray that it is the same way with moving from another country to here - that it will get better. I'm glad that they are opening up to you. That will help a lot.

{{hugs for them and for you}} from a virtual stranger, but one who is praying

Posted by: Tracy at November 15, 2005 09:30 PM

oh, this makes me want to cry. children's sadness is deeply painful for those of us who care about them...and of course after all these of months of pictures and stories and sharing, we blog-friends care about yours.

praying for your dear boys tonight...and their mom and dad too.

Posted by: sparrow at November 15, 2005 10:32 PM

Reading your post makes me hate schools all the more. I went to school for my entire childhood and that's probably the main reason why I want to keep my children out. I am sad that you have to do something that causes pain to you as a family (even though I am sure there are many good times and times that make you proud).

Posted by: Carol at November 16, 2005 09:52 AM

This reminded me of my college days, where I schooled with a lot of MKs. Very, very few stayed in the States after graduation. Life 'in the bush' (they were mostly from Kenya) proved far more comforting than life in the burbs.

Posted by: CJD at November 16, 2005 11:57 AM

Somebody yelled at your son at the grocery store? Unbelievable.
I bet that person is fortunate Papa Bear wasn't there.

Posted by: Jared at November 16, 2005 01:32 PM

Make sure you really do talk with them thoroughly about how they're feeling. My own parents had no idea how terrified and lonely I was in public schools. They assumed I was having approximately the same experience they did, and I didn't have the words to describe how much I hated it. I'm sure if they had known they'd have pulled me out five or six years before I finally begged to be homeschooled.

Posted by: Crazy Diamond at November 16, 2005 06:30 PM

The transition is so hard. We have been "home" for a little over a year and still the feeling of . . .just 'out of placeness' will creep up on us.My dear little #4 has had the roughest go of it. And I want so much to fix what I can't. The Lord has brought you and your family to mind often since reading this post. I have been praying you are all reminded that we are all truly strangers here and that youu would find comfort in each other and lots of space to talk and share your feelings.I miss our bubble,too-though ours was much warmer:)

Posted by: EVAB at November 18, 2005 11:03 PM

it is true that these are painful times for your children. they are very fortunate in many ways!

they have parents who love them and allow them to talk about their pain. they are young and are learning what that feels like at a young age so their "radar" can be tuned in to other children in similar situations at school or church. (that is a huge benefit. those kinds of people are rare and the numbers of people who feel like outsiders are quite common.) they are growing up in a christian family and are part of a covenant community that needs to be ministering to them. this will affect them for the rest of their lives. your attitude (and that of your local church people) toward their "suffering" will affect whether they become bitter over these hard times or whether they b/c more tender to others.

of course our parental bear protectiveness wants to keep them from having any pain. but how will they learn to depend on their heavenly Father? how did we learn to lean on Him? thro' times of comfort and ease? i know i didn't. the trick is to love them through it but also help them learn to trust their sovereign heavenly Father who has brought these circumstances into their lives for good purposes.

a game we were introduced to years ago was called the "God Hunt". it is a great, fun way to look for ways that God has shown Himself in our lives that day/week. when we were down, it took hunting but as we practiced, it was a strong encouraging tool for all of our family.

i can identify with you. i am in year #2 of a major move and had forgotten that it is the harder year (for different reasons) than year #1. the bottom line is that i must be thankful for anything that forces me to lean more on God, right? my independant nature does not want to, but He knows that is what i need.
love, martha

Posted by: martha at November 22, 2005 08:57 PM

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