I get tagged every time a mother asks for advice about potentially moving their family to an island. This one I know, well, I know my experience at least.
I was in suburbia, 4 bedrooms, a den, a walk out basement. She'd be going to a pretty good school paid for by our property taxes, and I'd take her there in a pristine black SUV, wearing my knee high boots, leather jacket, not a hair out of place, and my makeup would be “on fleek.” (whatever the fuck that means.)
But that wasn't going to be her childhood.
Her childhood was going to look much different.
She won’t go to school until almost six, and when she does, her dad will be dropping her off and I'll be picking her up, always in flip flops and very likely in my bathing suit. Hair never done. Make up “off fleek”, if not on at all.
Her hair is as wild as the wind and she doesn't know what jeans feel like on, in fact we recently tried to put them on her, and she looked like a cat that you put tape on it’s paws. She prefers the pool over the beach right now, unless we are at a Birthday party, which we are always at a birthday party.
She love cupcakes, as I assume she would anywhere.
She loves west Indian food, she loves feral cats, and she loves dragonflies. She loves lizards, passion fruit off the vine, and mango season.
She loves beachside taco Mondays, surrounded by her friends, music, bubbles, and sand.
She doesn’t mind flying cockroaches, power outages, or having to wait a few weeks for a toy, not that she really ever sees “real tv”, or is a victim of successful pointed marketing. She never sees the mainstream news, and she never hears about politics. She feels sorry for mosquitos, and understands that they are just trying to make it like the rest of us.
She looks forward to rainy days, because in our house it an unwritten rule that we crawl into bed and watch movies, eat snacks all day, because those days are few and far between, and I want her to learn to drop everything for the “few and far between moments”.
She sees mom’s that aren’t perfect here, she sees women with “beach hair”, and that no one is “on fleek” all the time. She sees bodies in bathing suits of all shapes and sizes. She sees people taking “family time” over any other time. She see women that love themselves, laugh at themselves, laugh at each other, and that enjoy their life, free of judgement, especially from other women, hell no, we are a team.
These women are her tribe. The examples of what women are, what she will inevitably become, because they are what she knows.
She sees me. Imperfect and happy. Never “on fleek”, and never “not me”.
She’s been on 110 airplanes in her life, she is a traveller. She knows the world is big and knows she can go see it all. But for now, her little island is her home, it is loving, safe, and real.
And that is what she calls “a childhood”.