With the exception of a six month stay in Canada, our family has lived in the exact same house from the time our eldest son turned one to today, almost ten years later. I often find myself wondering what kind of impact that will have on our children, since when I was a child my family moved from house to house several times, including one big move from the USA to Brazil.
I believe that for children, there are advantages and disadvantages both to moving around a lot and to staying put their entire childhood. Moving around – especially if these moves are to new cities or even countries – gives them new perspectives of the world. Staying put, in turn, gives them a sense of stability and security. (more…)
Tara B’s backyard bathed in unusual winter sunlight on Christmas Eve.
What is home? Everyone has different answers to this, but for me, home is tied to sensations. It’s a physical space that can conjure the feelings of nostalgia, warmth, comfort, and peace.When I think of the places I have truly called home, these feelings were always present.
In my life, I have traveled some but have lived in two states thus far: Pennsylvania and Washington. My parents still live in the house I grew up in in Northeastern Pennsylvania. And while I lived in Philadelphia before moving to Washington, my parents’ house will always be home. I spent 18 years there, creating memories good and bad, throughout my childhood. The furnishings may have changed, but the “home” is still there. I’m only able to visit my parents once a year right now, and it’s hard to describe the feeling I get just driving up the street to their house and walking through the door. The flood of memories and sensations is overwhelming. There, I connect to a part of me that I don’t connect with any place else. I am filled with nostalgia, warmth, comfort, and peace from a very specific time of my life. (more…)
Last Saturday morning, there was a brief period during which peace and quiet reigned. I mention this because it is such a rare occurrence. Peace and quiet, much like Halley’s Comet or a solar eclipse, only happens in my house once every eighty years or so. George, who is seven and has autism, was constructing a Lego tower that could rival Toronto’s CN Tower in height. James, who is almost five, had enlisted me to play with him and two hundred of his favourite cars. We were all content. The calm before the storm.
All of a sudden, for reasons unknown, all hell broke loose. George let out an ear-piercing scream of rage, ferociously threw his Lego against the wall and fled from the room. I took off after him, knowing that I had to get to him before he started smashing his head on the hardwood floor in the hall. I reached him just in time and dragged him kicking and screaming back to the carpeted area. With an expertise born of prior experience, I wrestled him into a full-length position on the floor, and then used my body weight to immobilize him. He was screaming in what sounded like anger, but was probably something closer to despair or frustration.
I lay there on the floor with him for maybe an hour, maybe more. I softly spoke reassurances into his ear – I love you. It’s OK. You’re safe. You’re a good boy. I love you. – hoping and trusting that my words were cutting through his frustration and his screams. Whenever I looked into his eyes, I saw utter despair. The kind of despair that twists your heart and makes you wish for the ability to take all of your child’s pain onto your own shoulders. (more…)