I suspect this condition is at least partly hereditary, passed down from my father and likely onto my son. All our biggest parenting challenges took place directly upon returning home after travel. So this summer I made a travel journal for him, with the hope this visual way to prepare for our trips would alleviate this acute transition disorder (ATD—I just made that up, but I'm sure it's ripe to included in the new DSM, along with a handy prescription medication to dull it).
Isaiah's travel journal follows our trips: our journey up to the Cape last month and then down to Spring Lake next week. I created maps of his room here at home, our neighborhood, and traced the road we would drive through Connecticut, Rhode Island, and onto the Cape. I made a map of our neighborhood in Chatham, Massachusetts. And, given that there hasn't been any sort of breakdown upon our return, I think it might have worked.
All this map-making inspired Isaiah decided to draw a few maps himself, one of which I've included here. He drew New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Hawaii, Cape Cod, a volcano, and some boroughs of New York. I was curious about one place on the maps Isaiah drew—an area he told me was "the sad place." You can see it below in the upper left hand corner of his map, it's a reddish-magenta triangle.
I think it's nice: mapping a sad place. Creating a place to put the things we mourn, regret, or perhaps just things we can't comprehend. Failures, disasters, years that pass in emptiness or depression. We map them to remember them. We honor their place in our lives instead of ignoring or suppressing them. They are part of us, part of our story and our strength.