3:59 this morning I awoke to the sound of my son crying in his bed. "What's wrong, Isaiah?" I ask stroking his hair. "I'm sad. Sing a song with me." comes the quiet reply. After a quick trip to the potty we snuggle back in bed and I sing our own little song, "Mommy loves you, loves Isaiah, Papi loves you, loves Isaiah..." His eyes close slowly and sleep returns.
In the last 10 months our family has visited 5 different countries, traveled by car and plane over 4,000 miles within the US, and now live out of suitcases in our fourth home. We've made many wonderful memories and new friends in our journeys. Still, adventure loving or not, my little one craves and needs routine and stability just much as any other child. So what's a Papi and Mommy to do?
We start by considering how we would want Isaiah to remember his childhood when he is grown. We want him to look back on these years with great fondness and to develop a lifetime love of other cultures and people. We want him to grow up with the conviction that how he lives matters and that he can have a tremendous impact for good in the world. We want him to see and trust God in every facet of life. We want Isaiah to know deeply that we are in this together and that what he feels, even as a three year old, matters.
So we attach at the hip and include our little guy as much as possible in everything. We give opportunity for independence, but do not demand or expect it. We recognize the behavior pattern insecurity brings when moving to a new place and use informative and reassuring words, loads of cuddles, and quality time to keep it at bay. We admit that we are sad and miss our friends too. We pray together multiple times throughout each day.
Often, well meaning people remark, "You don't need to worry about Isaiah. Kids are just so adaptable." My thoughts? Yes, kids are adaptable, but I don't want Isaiah to just adapt. I want him to thrive.