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Dana Burdick and family

Dana Burdick, with stepson, nephew and son

These days, the ‘world is a small place,’ but it wasn’t always that way.

Prior to the 1950s, humanity was connected by the now seemingly archaic network of snail mail and radio broadcasts.

With the advent of mass TV production and affordable commercial flights, the world entered our living rooms and we flew out to visit theirs. Consequently, the term ‘global village’ (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Global_village_%28term%29) was invented.

Then, intentionally or unwittingly, we landed on the conveyor belt of the ‘information highway’ in the 1990s—an invention which left newspapers gasping for air in a financial ICU, and crowned social media the new King Kong of communications.

We’re now a global dormitory.

Despite it all, however, when you cut to the core of this incomprehensible internet mishmash, one axiom remains: people are still people.

They’re human. And so are their stories.

This truth was brought home to me recently, by a tale of two moms re-united after 20 years through the FPM blog, and who then learned they had more in common than the old college dorm.

Last month, I uploaded the story of Colorado Rocky Mountain Mom, Christina Haltom-Farrar, who married her partner of 7 years at age 45 and adopted their daughter from Viet Nam at 48.

Now 50, Haltom-Farrar—who was inspired in her youth by the 1970s Mary Tyler Moore Show (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/The_Mary_Tyler_Moore_Show) to be more independent—had flouted the expectations of family and local community in her native Iowa by choosing to go to college instead of settling down to have a family.

Shortly after the blog article was published, I received a joyful email from Dana Burdick—Christina’s old college dorm-mate from the University of Northern Colorado (UNC)—who had been searching for her on the internet after the two lost touch decades earlier.

Burdick, who is now 50 and works as a Special Education Resource teacher in St. George, Utah, says the two had been good friends and had managed to stay in touch for 4 years after leaving school and then went their separate ways.

“I met Christy at the beginning of my freshman year at UNC,” says Burdick.

“I was thinking about her recently—some 20 years since our last contact—and did a Google search to see if I could find her.”

“What I came up with was the story you had done!” she continued.

And Burdick was surprised to learn that they both had similarities in their attitudes to motherhood—including having their children after 40.

“I did not have a plan to wait until I was older to marry,” she says. “It was just the path my life took.”

After university, Dana travelled “all over” and was “a bit of a vagabond” until she met her husband while she was teaching English in Korea.

“I had intended to be in Korea for a year, but met and married my husband and stayed for almost 12 years,” admits Burdick.

The two married when she was 38, but it was not until she was 41 that Dana Burdick gave birth to her son who is now 9 years old.

Upon marrying, she also acquired a step-son, Sung Hyun, who was then 3 years old and resided with the couple—an experience which highlighted some cultural differences.

“These titles ‘step’ or ‘biological’ are very cultural related to the west—I never called my older son ‘step’ in Korea!”

“My name did not change when I married because Korean women do not take their husband’s names when they marry.”

Burdick is adamant that, during her ‘vagabond’ years, having the opportunity to be exposed to different cultures has made her a far better parent.

“I was also in the Peace Corps, and lived in a Muslim country after university,” she explains.

“I have traveled a great deal and have had time to develop a belief system that I did not have in my earlier years.”

She insists that the knowledge she has gleaned through living in diverse cultures has afforded her more effective knowledge than might be obtained through parenting books.

“I don’t parent my children the way I was parented, nor like how books or other people advise me to parent,” she says.

“I bring a multitude of experiences as an older parent. I have more confidence.”

“My parenting beliefs come from all I have observed and experienced in life—I have lived in other cultures and have folded many of these different experiences into my parenting,”  she adds.

“I see myself more as a guide to my son then I think I would have in my younger years.”

Like Christina Haltom-Farrar, Burdick sees the benefits of being an older parent, versus a younger one.

“I cringe when I think what kind of parent I would have been in my 20’s—I think that younger mothers do not have the quantity of life experience or confidence needed to ‘go with the gut.’

“In general, they are not experienced enough to have developed an independent way of thinking or doing things,” says Burdick.

“I know that I am a better parent now than I would have been earlier because of all the additional life experiences I have had.”

Having interviewed Christina Haltom-Farrar, and now Dana Burdick, I was struck by how—despite the different paths each took after university—they had so much in common with their attitudes to mothering and coming to it later in life.

Was it co-incidence, generational, or an example of the rising ranks of over-40 moms?

Only time will tell.

Notes for this blog:

To read Christina Haltom-Farrar’s story, go to: http://www.achildafter40.com/wordpress/?p=1845

 

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