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  • I grew up in 13 square kilometers.

    We took a five-minute car drive in different directions to reach the people who mattered: grandparents, aunts and uncles, our babysitter we called Mommy Lorna. One relative lived in a heritage home built by wealthy lumber barons a century ago. It was haunted by past lives with a maze of secret passages and doors that took us to imaginary, far-off lands. Our own house had a dozen really-hard-to-find hide and seek spots. Bicycles carried us past five houses to a friend's.

    Never a dull day.

    Thirty years later, I'm having a second childhood. My son is a toddler with two air miles cards. His name, Otem, means born away from home and to have come from a distant place. His world is Kenya, the big city, the coast or upcountry, across the border to Tanzania, it's Mali, Seychelles, Amsterdam, Dubai, India and its Taj Mahal; Canada, home to the family we see once a year. My dad picks us up at the airport in the big city and we drive an hour to our small-town. My mom has a meal waiting, my son and I sleep in my old bedroom for few short weeks, a short reprieve that we're always desperately sad to leave. Why don't you just stay, my parents beg, come home, they plead. Wouldn't it be nice, I think. We keep moving. We brave traffic jams, wait on layovers, get delayed by weather. Our adventure.

    Never a dull day.

    I reflect on these two childhoods. I worry. I've deprived my son his only chance to enjoy the simplicity of life. I'm proud: I've opened his eyes to the diversity of tastes, cultures, religions and histories. And I wonder. How will he picture his childhood in 30 years?

    Never a dull day.

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