What about their friends? What about school? What about sports?
What about stability?
When we announced our plans to sell it all and move into an RV to travel the country to our close friends and family, they were all, at minimum, supportive of us. Many were OVER THE TOP SO CRAZY EXCITED for us. Sure they had questions- totally valid ones. We couldn’t answer some of them, but they trusted that we’d figure it out, that we had everyone’s best interest in mind.
I realize now how very lucky we were to receive that type of response from the people who matter most to us.
Earlier this summer we were profiled by Life Hacker for the How I Parent series, which was an honor. It’s such a big platform, and I just saw it as a fun place to tell our story. The comment section was a major downer. I am still sitting on my hands, holding back from replying to any and all of them because I know it won’t do a bit of good.
Sometimes people just have their minds made up about what they don’t know. And there’s no arguing with them in the comment section that’s going to change that. I’ve been around the internet long enough to learn this lesson.
One theme in the comments was how we are “abusing” our children. Yes, you read that right. Our fed and clothed and loved and educated children are being abused because… we took them away from their friends. We are forcing them to live in a small space. They don’t go to a traditional school.
Like, what about stability?
I’m a member of a few groups on Facebook for families traveling full time, and this topic comes up quite a bit. Someone wants to know how to respond to a loved one when they express that they are concerned about their family doing this. It always comes down to that word- stability.
I was thinking about this when our daughter Leyna took off riding her bike with no training wheels a couple weeks ago. There she was, so strong and stable, but only because she had the freedom to fall and learn. Only because she had wide open spaces to practice. Because her parents guided her and gave her the tools she needed, while also watching on from a distance to make sure she stayed safe.
This is the same girl who went from not reading to reading chapter books from the time we launched until this summer. But, you know, her education is a concern, right?
She also mastered swimming this spring. She went from swimming with Puddle Jumpers to passing the deep end test in Palm Springs in only a few days, and was happily jumping from the diving boards with her big brother. But it’s real sad she “doesn’t have friends.”
Stability can look like a house, and a bedroom, and a school, and weekly playdates, and a soccer team. Stability can also look like an apartment with a room shared with mom and siblings, and daycare, and weekends with grandma while mom works a 2nd job. Stability can look like moving every year to a new military base. Stability isn’t about the place you live, and how long you live there, or where you learn.
If what really matters in life keeps showing up for you- the people you love, the space you need to grow and learn, safety, shelter, then I believe you can feel stable. I say this as a former Navy Brat and child of divorce who moved more than I can count on both hands.
Every day, our kids wake up in a place where they know they will find love, guidance, discipline, encouragement, food, clothes, and a roof over their head. Where that place is parked makes no difference. That’s their stability.