If you ask my two children, ages 2 and 3, where they live, their response is always, "Town Mountain View." I am not sure where the word town came from - probably from hearing the driver on the Light Rail say, "next stop Downtown Mountain View". Wherever it came from, I know I will be sad when their cute response changes to plain, old Mountain View.
Last week, when we drove down Highway 5 to my parents' house in Los Angeles, my children told me all the things they were going to miss about "Town Mountain View "during their week -long vacation.
"The train. My soccer ball. The park," Owen said. "My friends. The library. In N Out," said Josie.
Usually when drive to Southern California, all my children talk about is the things they can't wait to do when they get to my parents' house. Swim with their cousins. Color with Grandma. Play outside with Grandpa. I was happy to hear that they now have some ties to their new community, even if they were just toddler ties.
After a fun filled week in Southern California, my children cried (and whined) as we packed the car to come home. "I don't want to go," Josie said, "Why do we live so far away?" Owen went outside to check if there was room in the car for Uncle CJ to come home with us. He refused to get in the car when he saw, in fact, there was barely room for us.
This is always the part that breaks my heart. For years, I've been traveling back and forth from Southern California to Northern California, sad to leave my family but happy to be coming back to the place where I felt I belonged. My children aren't old enough to understand that - all they understand is that they wish they could spend more time with my big, crazy family that loves them to pieces.
It wasn't long after we arrived back in "Town Mountain View" before my children seemed happy to be home. They quickly started asking about train rides, play dates and trips to the library. I started looking forward to spending next week with friends we've made in Mountain View, many of whom also live "so far away" from their families and loved ones.
When I put my children to bed last night and started to unpack, I finally took time to feel my own sadness for leaving my family, yet again. But I realized that now that I have my own family, no matter how we feel about where we live or where we leave, at least, we'll be in it together.