Yes, we got that question over the weekend and it was brought up again last night by our four year old, Adrian. As a parent, this one tugs at your heart strings.
When we first told Adrian we were moving to England back in August he was most excited that he got to ride on an airplane but otherwise, he didn’t really know what was going on. As the months progressed, we went through the process of getting rid of clothes, toys and other personal belongings that we couldn’t bring with us or that the kids had outgrown. The last two weeks before we moved, was a somewhat difficult process at times.
Those last two weeks included emptying out our house and packing up belongings. I was surprised when Adrian got upset over certain items that were going away, like the rocker that was in his sister’s room that I used to rock, feed and read books to the kiddos. He hadn’t been in that chair in years but he was not happy when it left the house. Then it came time to say goodbye to family. This was when I understood that he knew somewhat was happening. Adrian would say things to a grandparent like “I am going to miss you in England.” So he understood that we were going to be away.
Now we have been here for almost a month and we are starting to get settled in and I think some of the newness has gone away. This past weekend he was acting kind of sad and asked us questions like “Mom, can we go home?” and
“I want to go back to our house in Nebraska.”
Immediately when he said that my heart sank. Now, let me say we are no child experts just a couple of parents trying to raise our kids in another country away from anything familiar to them so this may or may not have been the right thing to do but this is what we did to address the situation.
First, we acknowledged his feelings. He was obviously feeling sad and we didn’t want to discount that since that is part of the process of living abroad. Second, we asked him questions like “Why do you want to go home?” and “Why are you feeling sad about home?” Well, it turns out (as you would expect) he misses his house and family so we talked to him about those things.
Our house has been on the market since August and we lived in it until the day we left and he doesn’t understand that his house won’t be “our house” when we return. He just doesn’t understand that concept yet, perhaps over time. Our house here in England is nice but it doesn’t have all of his toys, a yard, his own room, etc. Hopefully over time, we can create and make it his own.
Adrian loved having “sleepovers” with grandparents or with other family members. He knows that some of the grandparents will be coming over soon to have a “sleepover” which made him happy enough to move on from being sad. It will be good once we get some familiar visitors over here.
We certainly don’t have the answers on how to handle these questions and feelings but we are trying the best we can. Sure, there are days that we probably miss home about as much as Adrian does. This is all part of the process of living abroad but hopefully over time he will get settled in and be able to make another home here in Alderley Edge.