By: Delana S
When living life outside our homelands, or even traveling extensively within your homeland, creating a sense of stability, familiarity, and comfort in our children is crucial.
This morning I began reading the book Something Beautiful by Gloria Gaither. In this book she takes the reader on a journey through her and Bill’s lives and through their songs. She shares the story behind popular songs, such as “Because He Lives.” One story and song about going home, reminded me of something wonderful I observed in my children last night (and through the years).
For the past 13 years we have spent most of our lives living in Central Asia and the Middle East. Three times we have come to the U.S. for short 3-6 month stays. This time we have come for a full school year. Every time, we have made it a point to stay in exactly the same house. This was the second visit for our 10 year old daughter, whom we adopted 4 years ago. Before arriving, she drew a detailed picture of her room as she remembered it. She joyfully bounded up the stairs and giggled delightfully at all she had remembered.
Last night, we brought two of our sons here for the first time since 2008. One has been off at college for the past year. The expressions on their faces were no different than it had been as younger children in previous visits.
Their countenances shone with joy and delight as they,
too, bounded up the stairs and talked about all the fun times
they had experienced in this place.
They reveled in the familiarity of “their” bunk beds, “their” closet and desk, “their” room. They remembered as seven and nine year olds finding squirrels and snakes in the wonderful backyard. And more recently, as fourteen and sixteen year olds, they remembered having gone through hurricane Ike, going without electricity and water, picking up MREs from the FEMA trucks, and helping neighbors clean up tree limbs from their yards.
Whether travel and life overseas is due to military, business, humanitarian, or ministry, all of our children growing up in other cultures, deserve a familiar place that feels like “home.” It not only affects our children, but us as well. There is comfort in the familiar. The dishes have remained basically in the same cabinets and drawers. I know where everything belongs. We also know how to find the neighborhood parks, grocery stores, and schools.
In a couple of days, we will pick up our oldest son and his new bride from their honeymoon and bring them “home.” For the first time, one of our sons will enjoy the guest room with the double bed upstairs at the end of the hall. It even looks like a honeymoon suite. What fun it will be to watch our older son’s face as he remembers his past three times in this house! What fun it will be to make new memories in this place, as we start new traditions with our daughter-in-law in this place we call home!