When you live far from family you have to keep them alive for your children. Kids have short memories and they need stoking. We talk about our family in Texas all the time. We talk on the phone with them, Skype, and try to visit in both directions.
The baby is now the same age Rowan was when we moved here. I look at Leo and remember taking Rowan away from his grandparents at such a young age. The night before we left Texas I had a panic attack. What are we doing? Why are we doing it? What are we leaving behind?
Rowan is now 5 and some change. I wonder if Leo will remember anything about Ireland. Probably not. He will only remember what we tell him. He will remember what we keep alive in his memory. Just as Rowan 'remembers' Texas. What is real to him is the love of his grandparents, aunt and uncle. So when he says, "Texas is the best" or "I want to go back to Texas", what he's really saying is, "My family is the best" and "I want to be near them again".
So it should come as no surprise that tonight he found a secret tunnel leading all the way to Grandmother's door. In reality he was cozied up on the sofa under his green covers, bum in the air. But to him it was a magic way to see her again. Sofia got in on the act and they both burrowed down together, giggling and whispering before coming back up again with news of snow in Texas. How they'd seen Aunt Kate and Georgia and then taken another tunnel down to Austin to see their friends.
So, I won't be surprised if when Leo is older he's talking of grandparents and imagining spending time with them. Unless we are back by then and he can actually see them in the flesh, get to know them on his own, and be squeezed and cuddled in person and not just in pretend through the computer screen when we all throw our arms out wide and kiss, kiss through the ether of Skype.
Oh, and Hook'em Horns!