My daughter’s Dutch childhood is unfamiliar to me.
I think about myself at her age, and find myself in a totally different setting. I discovered the world along with my older sister and cousins in Barranquilla. We spend our days barefoot playing in the garden. Eating mangos, guava, and ciruelas from the tree of the neighbors. Playing outside with the children that live in that same street. Eating raspao while our dads were playing soccer in the street. Going to the beach on Sundays… My memory from my childhood seems from a different world.
Thinking about my earliest memories of sun-tanned skin, the distant beat of salsa, vallenato, merengue music on the weekends, having family and people around at all times makes me feel sad that my daughter is not growing up like that. When I am out of that sad bubble, I look around and see my daughter and I know she is having a happy childhood. I know she won´t miss out on anything. Though, those of us who grew up in a different culture may find ourselves carrying feelings of homesickness as we create a home for our children.
When I reflect on the differences between my daughter’s childhood and my own, I realize that I can´t recreate my childhood for my daughter. Sometimes it´s even better like this. We tempt to remember only the good and avoid the rest.
To deal with my homesickness, I have found it helpful to look into my memories and identify what am I really craving, and assess how I might find it here too. With time, I have made my group of Latin mom friends that help me when I miss the friendly Latin vibe. I have found joy in putting my favorite Latin music and dancing around with my daughter in the living room. Facetime with my Colombian family has become a weekly activity my daughter and I enjoy.
‘They say the grass is always greener on the other side. Perhaps, once we have experienced a few different fields, we find the grass is greenest in our memories where anxiety has no hold.’
My grass happens to be greenest on the Colombian Caribbean coast; my daughters will be greenest in The Netherlands.