“But I want my old house. I don’t want my new house.” My precious two and a half year old son sighs to me as I cradle him, chest to chest, in my lap. He speaks so eloquently for his age and is remarkable mature in dealing with his daily life, but his soft baby hair tickling my face reminds me just how little he is.
In his short life we have moved six times. Home has been where mama is. Home has been where the familiar is. Home has been a hotel room with the smell of cheap coffee brewing. Home has been Nana and Pop’s house with Yorkie dogs barking. Home has been a familiar Camelbak filled with favorite apple juicy. Home has been mama’s breast and mama’s arms. Home has been Daddy's voice.
This move has been the hardest for all of us. After living a year and a half separated from Daddy he was reintroduced to our family. The transition, while exciting, was difficult. On top of that the home that had been our sanctuary – the first home we owned together - was now going to be for someone else. When we purchased the home we intended to keep it for the long term so that even though we didn’t have imminent plans of living in Florida, we’d be able to have a vacation home and a place to retire to eventually. It was going to be our haven and the place we imagined being happiest. Our own corner of paradise, 10 minutes from white sandy beaches. But plans change, budgets change, and we had to let go of that dream to give way to others.
So then, there was no concrete answer for “where is home?” as we lived out of suitcases in a furnished long-term stay apartment for almost six weeks. We couldn’t go back and moving forward wasn’t happening soon enough. There is no explaining the experience of transition to a young mind. Now is always temporary.
With all this transition however, what Noah has been exposed to in his short life is astounding. All of these experiences are absorbed into his ready mind and heart. He reflects on them, too. He’s always thinking, always observing. Much more so than I ever expected or realized a person his age could.
He speaks often of Geneva. We went there on vacation last summer and met Daddy there while living apart. We rented a home and pretended we lived there for about 12 days. Geneva is the measuring stick for his other life experiences. Nothing is and nothing will ever be as good as Geneva; the ice cream was better, the toys, the city, the playground, the life there was just complete. The memory of Geneva - mommy and daddy giving him our undivided attention 24/7 exploring new things together - is home for Noah. It’s his happy place and what he craves when he is sad or unsure. I didn’t realize it at first, when he cried for Geneva, but there is a concrete place for “home” in his heart after all and it wasn’t anything I had planned.