Six suitcases, check. Carry-on bag with laptop, Ipad, camera and jewelry, check, check, check. Pregnant belly still kicking and jabbing, check. Eighteen-month old, whew, check. As we arrived to our new apartment all I could think about was how empty it seemed to me. Sure, it was full of furniture I didn’t particularly like, and our luggage seemed to take over half the living room but as tired and jet-lagged as I was I was trying to visualize what this place would look like as we finally settled in.
I had done this before. You know, arrive in a new place, get rid of the stuff you don’t like, decorate, make a home. This was, however, the first time I had done this with a child in tow. I was worried, what if he missed his nursery back in Bangkok, the familiar faces in the building and even worse the happy and active mom that took him everywhere riding a tuk-tuk or riding the skytrain or driving herself everywhere? Now, I had a little person to worry about.
I wasn’t ready to leave Bangkok. It all happened so fast. Within 4 weeks we got advised that we were moving, we packed our life up, went to the US for a few days and arrived in Jakarta. It was evident this was my first time doing this. I had over -packed Evan’s suitcase full of plush toys, trucks, books, DVDs and way too many diapers. I was so concerned that the unfamiliarity of the place would affect him and in my mind traumatize him.
I so desperately wanted to make a home for him, I didn’t even know where to start. Last time I had been in Jakarta life had seemed so easy and doable. I had even told my husband, I wouldn’t mind moving there. Boy, was I wrong. Visiting doesn’t even begin to compare to moving in and even less settling in. I started looking for places that would seem familiar to him; playgrounds, baby gyms, swimming lessons. I failed at each one of them. After a swim instructor forced him to jump in the cold pool and asked me to stay away I saw my intrepid Evan cry of fear for the first time. How was I supposed to raise my son and the baby that would soon be joining us in this place?
Kids are resilient; I have learned that the hard way. No, I haven’t dropped him on his head, but I have over-worried about menial things and my joyful whirlwind of a boy doesn’t seem to mind if his bathtub seems rusty, or if feed him UHT milk rather than fresh milk. He is happy. As long as mommy and daddy are there with him, nothing can go wrong in the world. Once again, my son teaches me a life-lesson that I need to apply on my daily walk.
I still remember that first night in our new apartment in Jakarta. I was trying to figure out which room would become Evan’s room. After some thought, we decided he would sleep in what seemed to be an office at the time. I’m a terrible mother, I thought. But as I told my one and a half-year-old bedtime had arrived, he hurriedly grabbed his favorite blanket and pillow, snuggled in his traveling crib right by a desk and an office chair and peacefully fell asleep. It was then that I knew he didn’t mind the chaos in the apartment and on my mind, Evan had arrived home.
LIFE takes you unexpected places Love brings you HOME