I am an MK. I know the new term is TCK, but it is not my term. I am a MK, and I am proud of that title. I am fundamentally different than an "army brat" or an "embassy kid" or many other types of TCKs. We may share some commonalities, but there are also vast differences. I am not only a MK, but I am the child of an MK. I am also the grandchild of a MK. My children are now the fourth generation of MKs in our family.
At times when people hear that, they ask the obvious, "oh, have you read this or that book about TCKs?"
I haven't. Maybe I should. Maybe I will one day. There is a reason, though. When I grew up as a MK, there was the "normal" way to be a MK. You went out, and you either went to boarding school, or if you were lucky enough to live in a country where it was possible, you went to local school. (That was 30-40 years ago, homeschooling was just not common.) We did neither. We home-schooled.
I went once to a MK type of event. I didn't fit in. I felt like a stranger even among what was supposed to be "my own". There was no space for me. I didn't fit either mold. No one had really encountered us yet. I felt rejected, estranged. And I walked away. I don't struggle with boarding school issues.... my grandma did, and she told my parents not to put us in one. I don't struggle with local school issues - we didn't have one. I had my own issues... ones that few understood. And I felt left out, so I turned my back on all the TCK stuff and walked away.
I may change that stance. I am taking my kids to a MK event. I realize they have a need to have kids who can understand things in their lives that other of their friends just can not. I'm happy that their lifestyle is not so odd. How I was raised is also not so odd now. Many kids are home-schooled on the field now.
I may even read that book.
I'm approaching 40, and my life is still like a kaleidoscope. Full of beauty, but ever changing.
I enjoy change and cope with it well. But I grieve what is lost. What people in our churches don't fully grasp about the life of a MK is that it is not just the moves we make that are hard. It is the constant moves of those around us. If we love, we lose that relationship soon. Communication has improved and this does enable us now to keep a minimal contact with old friends, but that day to day fellowship in close quarters changes. The colored chips fall in a new pattern.
There are days I just stop. I just go for a walk and am sad. I can't explain it to everyone around me, and I stop even trying. I go to be alone, to mourn alone, to walk, to remember, and then to come back. I struggle on some days being totally involved where I am when my memory goes to a time before... a pattern of a previous turn, and I feel homesick. Homesick for something that no longer exists. Then I go on. The kaleidoscope keeps turning, the pattern keeps changing..... each design has familiar elements, a different pattern, so familiar, so new. I enjoy the new view. I miss the beauty that is gone.