Tag Archives: grandparents

Confessions of a cross-cultural mom: the art of goodbye

Most of the time we love our life here. I mean, L.O.V.E. love it.

But there are some aspects of the cross-cultural/ex-pat life that are tough.

Last night, as I tried to console my 9 year old, he reminded me of one of the toughest. In between heavy sobs and rivers of tears, he cried out “I don’t want to say goodbye!”

He had just gone to bed after saying goodnight to his Gram (my mom), who has been here the past several days, and was flying back to the states this morning. And as I attempted to calm him, all I could do was hold him tight and agree.

Our lives are a series of hellos and goodbyes. Maybe that is true for everyone, but it is amplified when you live outside your passport country. We are always thrilled to have visitors. And yet, we’ve all come to the point where we recognize that every visit also means a goodbye is around the corner. We look forward to company meetings where we get to connect with coworkers from all over Europe that we haven’t seen in a long time. And those goodbyes are on a different level, as it involves a collection of families that are all accustomed to this part of life. It might be the goodbyes of visiting with friends on vacation, or the goodbye when a friend here moves back to their home country.

So if you know someone living cross-culturally, understand that goodbye can be a difficult thing. Grant them some grace if they struggle for a period after a visit or trip. It is not at all a reflection on their unhappiness in their current setting. But it is a reality of having your heart in two different places.

Happy Birthday Nana / Homesick

Most days this place feels like home. But occasionally something will hit out of nowhere.  It can be quite random, and usually catches me by surprise.

And so it was today. As I looked at pictures on Facebook of my grandmother’s early birthday dinner from last night, the homesickness sunk in.

For me, homesickness is not about a place, but more about memories and people. And today, it is about my grandparents.
My Nana & D’Daddy hold such a special place in my heart. Incredible grandparents that they are, they are really like a bonus set of parents to me. As a child, I think I spent almost as much time at their house as I did my own.
My Nana served me my first cup of coffee. That was just one of the bonuses of sleepovers with them: a kid-sized mug once used by mom and her siblings, with more milk and sugar than coffee. Also included was the chance to stay up late and watch the Johnny Caraon monologue with my grandfather (though I think he watched part of it through his eyelids!).
I remember baking snickerdoodles at Christmas, enjoying weekly Sunday dinner at their house, playing makeover with the Avon and Mary Kay samples tucked into the 50’s-era Barbie lunchbox, and so much more. If I had a dance recital, band concert or chorus performance, they were always there. They are so strong in their faith in Jesus, and committed to serving others through ministries at church and in their community. And the way they honor each other in their marriage is something that I’ve kept with me over the past sixteen years as well.
So while homesickness creeps around, I can also sit and enjoy the memories and the impact that both of them have on my life. What a blessing they are to me and so many others!
Happy birthday, Nana. I hope you enjoyed your fiesta last night. And hope you have a wonderful day today!