No, not the polar ice caps. The children. My children, to be precise. You remember them, right? The dazzling ones who weathered the plane trip far better than mommy did?
A day after that, one found a plastic dog that her daddy didn’t want to buy (since she had just been given a great doll, doll bed, and doll bottle from her uncles the day before) and sobbed for thirty minutes about not getting it. The other heard that I was to go meet a longtime writing buddy who lives in nearby Beaverton and clung to me saying, “No, mommy, please don’t leave,” as if I were in the habit of abandoning him routinely in ship yards.
Travel is hard.
My kids are having a great time, but they miss their house, they miss Tiny Blue Baby (a particularly soft and fuzzy blanket), they miss their toys. They miss the familiar. Maybe melting down is a way of connecting to it.
I love it out here, too. There seems to be an ethic of enjoyment in Portland that many East coasters don’t share. Here life is to be enjoyed. Instead of managing and coping and fighting to get everything done, the people here seem to prioritize stopping to smell the roses.
I don’t miss the familiar the way my kids do, and I wonder why not. I’m content to let my house stand waiting, not to buy my favorite cookies at my favorite market, to skip the daily routines I get such pleasure from.
As adults do we need these lynchpins less? Or am I more just a travel bug–how little I do it notwithstanding–than my particular kids are? Maybe some kids wouldn’t cry for Tiny Blue Baby.
Maybe some wouldn’t melt.
But when mine do, I’ll try to surround them with the familiar in the form of the sound of my voice, the shape of a hug. As long as we have that, we’re always home.
And speaking of my true home, happy birthday to my husband today!