I lived in one house from the 3rd grade until I moved to college.
I remember writing Scriptures on the concrete when my parents decided to replace the tile, having a Johnathan Taylor Thomas poster on my ceiling, TY beanie babies hanging on the back of my door, watching Dragnet on Nick at Nite, and singing karoke with my youth group in our living room. It was in that house that I sat in my dad's lap and cried after a break up, mounted my 1st big buck, cooked for the first time, decorated for Christmas, washed cars, and learned how to cut the grass (and run over a small tree & get stuck in kudzu)! There were family get togethers, meaningful conversations, bonfires, nights spent comet watching, & days spent jumping on the trampoline.
Then there was the town itself - the church I grew up in & still love to worship with whenever I have the opportunity, Bible Drills, my favorite sno-cone location, Okatibbee Lake where we spent many summer days, the roads where I first learned to drive, the best hot pretzels you can find, and the majority of our family lived around the area which resulted in seeing them anytime I wanted.
I went to the same school from K-12, it has since split to have a seperate elementary school, but when I was there it was altogether. Of the 180 or so that I graduated with, over 100 of us had been together since kindergarten. This has it's pros & cons for sure - but I can look back on those days with a decent amount of fondness. Teachers who poured into my life in more ways than I was aware of back then & definitley one beautiful best friend came out of those years.
I now am aware that everyone's childhood didn't look like that, but mine did. I was born and raised in the same town that my parents (and most of my family) still lives in. While Tulear has become home for our little family, I will always & forever also consider Meridian home too.
It's those things that I find myself grieving over from time to time. Not everyday but sometimes a memory will randomly find it's way to the surface and I'll get a bit nostalgic. It's hard to not look around and see how drastically different Ryleigh & Lyllian's childhoods will be. Ryleigh is 3 and has lived in more homes than I had by the time I was married. Lyllian is 5 months old and has only met 2 family members in person. It's radically different.
I'm learning that it's okay to grieve those moments - the small, usually unnoticed, events that are a part of growing up. Their memories are going to look much different than mine do & that's HARD & it's also OKAY. It's not really a bad thing.
There are adults who will live their whole lives and not be as culturally aware as our children will be by the time they are 10. The stamps in their passports reflect adventures that some only dream of having. Ryleigh has asked me before "which home are we going to momma?" and while in some ways that hurt my heart, it also made me realize that there are good things that come from this type of childhood. Perhaps, she will be more focused on her eternal home than I ever have been. Maybe, my girls will anticipate heaven in a way that I simply can't fathom because of how much I cling to what I consider "home" here on this earth.
Their childhood will hopefully teach them about dependance on the Lord & recognizing His grace gifts in the day to day - which is typically harder to do when living in a 1st world country. We are not immune to 1st world sins simply because we live in a 3rd world country...but I do pray that those sins are easily recognized due to the poverty and culture that surrounds us. I pray that their (hopeful) intimate walk with the Lord is stronger and more in tune with His will than I could possibly imagine. At the end of the day, that's all I can do anyway - right? Praying that we are glorifying Him where He has us - trusting Him with all the memories that He has in store for us - even in a place that looks a lot different than Meridian, MS.
Yes, their childhood memories will consist of star gazing because the power is out, taking baths because of how hot it is, everyone sleeping in one room (with the AC) because of finicky electricity, family reunions via skype, being bilingual, lots of goodbyes, even more hellos, quick friendships, 1000s of airmiles, and much more rice than I ever thought I'd eat...and who is to say that those are not absolutely perfect memories? We sure are have fun making them!
I wouldn't change my childhood but, maybe, they won't want to change theirs either.