Total third culture kids and traveling missionary mom moment.
Tears. Like “super fast blinking and trying to keep my face smiling” mom moment.
Deep, gut-level, inner sigh…
My kids are feeling homeless.
I mean… I know it happens. I knew it would happen. To us. To my girls.
I’ve read about it and even experienced it some while growing up as we moved often.
But, my kids?
My girls… feeling homeless.
I was in our bathroom with Abby. She is 7. We were just getting back to our apartment after a 10 day trip in which we stayed 3 different places and visited 4 different churches.
Abby said, “Oh, I’m so glad to be back in our apartment.”
I looked down at her sweet little face and said, “Are you glad to be home?”
“Yes…” she frowned. “At least I tell my friends at school that this is my home because I don’t want them to know I’m homeless.”
Insert pause for an incredibly quick mommy “don’t cry just regroup” moment… “Oh, baby. We aren’t homeless. Home is always where your family is. We can make home wherever we are because we are together.”
She said, “I know. That is just too much to explain to my friends.”
Oh, sweetie… Mommy knows.
The dreaded “Where are you from?” and “Where is home?” and “Where do you live?” and “Where are you off to next?”
Do they mean where I’m from from? Like where I grew up? Where we met? Where we pastored? Where we own a house? Where we live now? Do they want to know where we were last week or where we were last year?
How much information do they want? How simple of an answer can I give? If I give a full answer will they ever understand what I’m saying?
The fact that my sweet girls have picked up on this communication/relational challenge and they haven’t even been overseas yet tells you something about our lifestyle for the past 15 months.
A lifestyle that will be their lifestyle for the coming duration of their childhood. Something will carry into adulthood as well.
It is too much to explain sometimes.
This “homeless” feeling. This “my story is just too much to explain” feeling. This “Wow… I can’t even answer simple questions. My life is pretty strange.” feeling.
My girls feel it. They feel it all. They are experiencing it to the max. And the max will only grow as they change with this ever changing missionary lifestyle.
Traveling from town to town over your childhood is hard. Traveling from town to town for months on end… crazy hard. For my girls, especially Abby, this is all she remembers.
We had a conversation recently about being busy and moving all the time. I asked, “Don’t you girls remember just being home? You know when we did school at home and Daddy came home from work and we had dinner and then went to bed just to get up and do the same thing the next day?”
All three blank stares.
They don’t really remember that.
15 months of their short lives has been stuffed in the backseat of a van together for hours on end, meeting new people, eating in restaurants or lunches on the go of string cheese and beef jerky. They can recall a hot dog place in downtown Cleveland and Chicago and St. Louis and Yellowstone and Fry’s Electronics Store in Indianapolis better than they can remember simple, quiet, normal days at home.
Being in a physical home… that isn’t their life anymore.
And they are processing it. Trying to explain it. Simplifying it for those around them because the differences are pretty great.
They are strong. Tough. Growing skills at 10 and 9 and 7 that are vital to coping with the call on our lives.
We are blessed. We carry home with us. Wherever we go.
Home is different for us and that is okay. That is our journey, our life, our adventure.
A few other Missionary Life posts: