Eating Fro-Yo at our neighborhood sweet shoppe. Climbing rocks at the playground with the fossilized ammonites. Listening to the wind chimes on our back patio. Winding up the butterfly music box.
These are just some of the activities our daughters talked about when they longed for home during the four months we spent in London.
They also happened to be some of the first things we went and did upon our return.
We’ve been home more than six weeks now, and the must-do’s are still flowing freely. Every morning, L insists on donning one of the princess dresses she had left at home, just because she “missed them.” Every afternoon, R likes to do the same with those of her bead necklaces that didn’t make the trip.
On one level, these rituals are as much part of the re-acclimatization process as they are touchstones; by reconnecting with the stuff they loved most before we left, the girls are getting more and more accustomed to the notion of being home.
On another level, L and R simply are rediscovering their stuff, a process that is, at the same time, comforting and fun.
(R, upon “finding” a stuffed Pooh in her room last week, exclaimed, “I got Pooh!”)
If you think about it, we grownups engage in some of the same behaviors. The entire time we spent in London, I (literally) dreamed about coming home and eating a giant burrito; when we finally got back to our home in Northern Sonoma County, that’s exactly what I did. Powerwoman had her fantasies, too; four months of anticipation made a massage from her local masseuse even more relaxing.
The lessons here are to give in to these very natural longings, to let our kids miss their stuff.
You’ve heard the (British) phrase, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” right? Well IMHO, the best ways for us parents to help kids return to “normal” after a family trip are to encourage them to miss their stuff back home and indulge them with the chances to make up for lost time.
If we’re doing things right, effects of the process will be twofold: relief in the short-term, followed by a renewed desire to get away again down the road.
What do you look forward to doing or eating upon returning from a long trip?