The most British of them all
My middle child, my one girl, born on March 7th 2003 is without a doubt the most ‘British’ of all my children. She’s quietly beautiful, reserved, wary of foreign places she knows nothing about, doesn’t like to socialize unless it’s with people she already knows, finds going out too much effort so prefers to stay home, loves animals, is highly critical of just about everything and doesn’t mind walking in the rain without an umbrella. In many ways, she is the complete opposite of me; however, after living in England for so long I do understand the phrase ‘too much effort’ and what that implies. It never would have been part of my vocabulary before and used to irritate me. There is a time and place for it even if it does go against the American ‘get up and go’ that is so ingrained in me.
I do find it fascinating that when we visit America, my daughter absolutely loves the outdoor culture, the buzzyness of the people and places, and the openness of everyone. She also loves the food of course! I know that part of this can be attributed to the fact that we’re on holiday so there’s already a sense of adventure to be had. But what if she had grown up there instead of here? I’ll always wonder about that… and not just for her but for all of my children. I previously wrote before about my English friend who spent time in Florida and her daughter went to American school for a few years. Her very first schooling was actually in the States. We talked about their different personalities and how her daughter seemed more ‘American’ than mine. Doesn’t matter really but it is very interesting from a sociological and nature versus nurture point of view. Would her personality be strikingly different if she had grown up and gone to school in America? How much does my own cultural influence and my genes contribute to her development? But then again, my DNA isn’t strictly American, is it! There’s another topic for the nature versus nurture discussion….
And so another year passes, she’s quickly turning into a young woman with very specific views and opinions. She has a strong character and a talent for writing that far surpasses mine. It is a pleasure to talk with her, spend time with her and more specifically, eat cake with her. Of course entering into any type of debate with her leaves me both infuriated and in awe of her knowledge and understanding of the larger world and human nature.
It’s International Women’s Day today and I’m proud to be a woman and to raise a young woman (we have to stick together in our family as we’re outnumbered!) who is happy, confident and very smart. Wherever we are, Britain or America, we are fortunate to be able to give our daughter the best start in life and the best of two amazing cultures.
Cakes by Sarah of @letscookathome
Meghan Peterson Fenn is the author of Bringing Up Brits, co-author of Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs, co-founder and Director of Design and Web at Shake It Up Creative. And, she is an award winning expat blogger and mother of three.