I recently visited LA on a quick business trip. It was the oddest feeling to be back in sunny California without my family. Leaving them felt surreal. I still find it hard to believe I just packed up and left my husband and children in a random Granada, Nicaragua rental to board a plane back to LA.
Before breaking the news, I braced myself for tears assuming the kids would completely resent the fact that mommy got to go home… home, home. As fun as all the nonstop travel is, our children often (and quite naturally) miss home. When I thought further about sharing my news, I realized it had been a few weeks since our youngest had cried for his Abuelita, or the oldest had complained of missing out on junior high, or our middle child reminded us how long it’d been since we’d seen our pet yorkie, Jellybean. When I finally spit out the news, our kids didn’t cry though one blurted out in shock: “You’re going to AMERICAAA?”
They heard me out, called me lucky, and went on with their lives. I realized right then they won’t always miss home. They’re actually adjusting and growing accustomed to our nomadic routine.
They will have their moments of nostalgia of course. The best we can do is express love while assuring them their feelings matter. When they miss home we also always remind them of all that ties us back. The kids keep in touch with pen pals in the U.S. Our oldest has an iPod to FaceTime with classmates. Plus, there’s always the classic telephone call easily connecting us to loved ones. My kids could use the practice developing proper phone etiquette in a text-messaging world.
Missing home is natural and we’re all going to feel those emotions from time to time, but we also love being on this adventure together. The kids have spent more time bonding with one another than ever before, they’re increasingly comfortable in different communities, and have enjoyed experiencing new cuisines, climates, and customs. Missing home is the result of embracing the entire world as our new home and everyone in it as our peers.
Before I had children, I was often asked if I had any fears, you know the classic college icebreaker stuff. I had only one. My fear was to never become a mother. Then after becoming a mother, I received the usual question inquiring as to how I would be in the role and what my goals were for my children.
In those early years of motherhood, I always proclaimed the basics with a twist… “I want them to be happy and I want them to be truly global citizens.”
So my children will miss their home of origin from time to time, but they’re also coming to realize their true home stretches far beyond the boundaries of a small town in California. Today, they get to embrace the entire planet as their own, opening themselves up to learn from other cultures without judgment and care for every part of earth without prejudice. More importantly, they’ll learn to fight for social injustices not only in their neighborhoods, but across the globe.
Our children have the opportunity to be truly global, responsible citizens, and it starts now as they expand what it even means to be HOME, to be Latinos, and to have the ability to advocate for themselves and others, locally and abroad.
|Fitting right in strolling through beautiful (and colorful) Granada, Nicaragua.