Three days. Three days until the move. We don’t have a house yet. Our stuff’s not packed. We don’t even have hotels booked for our trip. There are a million things I need to think about, but something–or rather, someone–is particularly on my mind.
Whether it’s her age or the fact that she’s lost a few friends to relocations over the past few years, the Maiden has suddenly hit that level of maturity where she understands–really understands–that moving doesn’t mean a new chapter in life for everyone. Back at your old home area, life keeps on going and cool stuff happens without you and somehow everything’s the same, but you’re not there.
That’s not an easy thing to accept.
Mostly she’s been a closed book. She says things like “Talking makes it worse. Can I have soup for dinner? Hey, look at that weird car!” Sealed, shut, locked with a key. I can’t get in.
Then a week or two ago, something happened.
What set it off was learning about a cool new exhibit that’s coming to the local science center–after we leave.
She got mad, really mad. But not meltdown mad or overtired mad; this was a big-girl kind of hurt.
“I HATE the Air Force!” she shouted and stomped and kicked the back of the chair. “Everything’s ruined! I’ll NEVER have the chance to see ANYTHING! I HATE moving!”
I didn’t shut down her ranting. I didn’t tell her to calm down.
I said, “You’re allowed to be mad.”
I said, “What else are you upset about?”
And then it came tumbling out.
I’ll miss my house.
I can do ballet, but it’ll be at a different place.
I won’t be able to drive by my old school and say hey, I graduated from there.
I won’t run into anyone I know at Target.
My friends will keep dancing and acting without me.
I won’t be able to laugh at the silly noodle at the corner by our house. Or point out your dentist every time we pass by. Or joke about the Red River actually being brown. Or hunt for pennies near the change machine at the Kroger down the street.
Life will go on living here, but I won’t be here to see it.
I didn’t say, “Oh, but in our new place we’ll have this and this and this.” I didn’t give the aren’t you excited pep talk.
She gets that part. She knows it’s an adventure. She knows she’ll have all kinds of opportunities for fun–more, even, because the area we’ll be moving to is a lot bigger. She’ll be living closer to her grandparents and cousins and especially her much-missed BFF. She’s visited, and is excited about, her new school.
That’s not the point.
Because all the excitement in the world isn’t going to completely erase the sting of walking away from almost everything she thought was home.
“Sometimes moving sucks,” I told her. For grown-ups, too. We made lists of all the stuff we’ll miss most. We talked about driving around town with a camera and then making a slideshow or scrapbook or Best-Of video montage. We solemnly resolved to make several ice cream runs before we headed out.
Three days from the move, and she still won’t really talk about moving. And yet last night, out of the blue, she said a prayer: “Please let us find a big house that can fit all our stuff in it, amen.”
She’s gonna be okay.