After a three week vacation in Northern California staying with their grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins, my boys return home today. This is the second summer in a row where “coming home” means coming to Evanston and not El Paso. Despite the year living here, I worry it still won’t feel like home because as the title of this blog notes, my boys frequently tell me “Mom, this doesn’t feel like home”.
Although I totally believe there is merit in NOT listening to MOST things children say, I find it hard to ignore them when they tell me that their new home doesn’t feel like "home". They can’t really back it up and give concrete reasons, both of them just say “I don’t know, but it doesn’t feel like home.”
I hear myself responding “well boys, home isn’t always a physical location. It can be a feeling or a smell or temperature. Don’t worry about recreating what you used to have in El Paso but instead working on creating what you want in Evanston.” This normally just gets me blank stares.
For parents who move children numerous times because of career demands how do they recreate new homes? It takes so long to make good friends; there must be a speedier way to create belonging. I really haven’t done the research on creating a new home and a sense of belonging because I wanted our experience to be organic. Other than talking in a friendly tone to every human I’ve come across in our new town over the last year, I’ve let my children pick their friends and how they make them. I’ve let them pick the park where they want to hang and their favorite restaurant. More than anything, I’ve just given them a love for walking and that’s how they’ve discovered their new city. I think they’ve done a great job creating their new home/life all on their own but…
Will they come home today and say, “This doesn’t feel like home?” I hope the banners and the fresh flowers and the bag of Chicago style popcorn and the cake (see above) make them feel like they’re home. I’ll let you know what happens.