Your Children Come to You -- Parenting in Pursuit of Our Dreams
Your Children Come to You – Parenting in Pursuit of Our Dreams
When I was in my late 20’s, and far from motherhood, I reveled in the freedom to do whatever -- and go wherever -- I pleased. My partner and I would hop over to LA, the Caribbean, Spain, or Thailand, without so much as a second thought. As I inched towards 30, and more of my friends became parents, they warned me to enjoy this liberty, because if and when I decided to have children, that would be the end of that.
The idea terrified me. Was it true that travel and the infinite joy it brought me would be over once children arrived? I couldn’t imagine a life without wings. I’d previously lived overseas as an expat and longed to do it again. Would I have to choose between the freedom to travel and being a parent?
A few years later, when I became pregnant, a friend and mom of three gave me some sage advice. “Your children come to you,” she said. These five little words changed my life. This knowledge, this benediction, made the decisions that followed so much easier to take.
When our daughter arrived, my partner-turned-husband and I spent hours watching over her, enjoying the wonder that is new parenthood. We were also plotting our departure. I looked at her tiny face and remembered my friend’s words. Reason and practicality told me to sit still, to enjoy the life I had made and build a strong local support system. But my gut told me to pursue my dream, and what I really wanted was to take my baby to see the world, giving her a different childhood experience.
We moved with Asha to France just a month shy of her second birthday. We had barely unpacked when we were invited to visit friends in Ethiopia. A few months later, we took her to Turkey, then to Greece. We lived for six months in southwest France and two months in Paris before we moved to Barcelona and enrolled her in a multilingual preschool. The following year, we moved to Cape Town. Two years into our travels, Asha had visited over 20 different countries.
Now, five years later, we have settled between France and Florida. Asha, along with her baby brother, have seen so much of the world. They’ve met children all over, heard the languages they speak, learned the games they play, and tasted the foods they eat. These experiences led us to create a children’s story book collection that shares some of what we’ve seen and learned with other children and their families. Without realizing it, I created an entirely new line of work that I could have only dreamed of -- I get to travel, write, and share stories about my life as a mother, and as a traveler.
The opportunities that have since come my way have affirmed my decision to leave and travel with Asha those years ago. I realize that one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to lead an inspired life. A life we love and enjoy, doing the things that make us whole and happy. This may be writing a book, starting a business, moving to a new city or country, leaving an unfulfilling job, or taking that leap of faith that your gut tells you will bring you joy. We owe it to ourselves, and to our children. After all, your children come to you.
Serena Minott is an attorney, entrepreneur, and children’s book writer. She is the creator of “The Amazing Adventures of Aya & Pete,” a children’s travel book series, co-written with her 7-year old daughter, Asha. Serena has traveled to over 43 different countries, Asha has visited over 20. Serena and her family are based in France and Miami. You can explore their books at shopashima.com, and purchase at Nordstrom.com.