For the most part, traveling parents aren’t fun for young children. In our home, it’s gone from the children being too young to understand why dad’s gone a few days here and there, to knowing where he is, but dealing with the heavy hearted feelings of longing for his return. My husband’s job goes in spurts, but the past couple of months have taken him to Italy, Panama, Mexico twice, Seattle and Los Angeles.
A while back he started bringing home small souvenirs from the new countries he’d visit. For our son, whose interests are always changing, he sometimes picks up small toy cars and coloring books, but mostly some new coins for his growing collection. Our doll-loving six year old daughter is gathering a nice collection of native dolls from dad’s travels. These dolls are inexpensive, easy for him to find (some are even from airports), and they often wear clothing stitched from sweet floral textiles. Last week, she received a doll made from dyed corn husks from his latest trip to Mexico. She really loves her growing collection, and was eager to add a doll of her own choosing to it last summer while on our own family vacation.
Dad brings home great stories (sometimes made up) from these new places to broaden the kids curiosity of the world, making his travel a bit more magical (for them at least) and to help take some of the focus off the longing, on all parts, and onto the joyous reunion.
Follow Jaime on her blog, Found While Walking.