So, one month ago today we woke up in our new state. We were exhausted (having arrived after midnight the night before), we were sleeping in the home of people we had never met (who have become great friends over the past month) and I was getting Kennedy ready to go to band camp with 50 kids she had never met in a school we had never laid eyes on.
Wow, we have come a long way since that moment. To think it was one short month ago is almost unbelievable.
While it is true to say that we are immeasurably more settled than we were then, it is not true to say that we are completely comfortable and used to our new surroundings. Yes, the kids have started school and dance and band and are signed up to start cheerleading (McKinley!) and maybe basketball (Carter). Yes, we have attended our new church a few times, even helped with the church picnic. Yes, I can now find the grocery store, the bank, the doctor and the library without having to consult mapquest. Yes, my fb account now sports a few new Virginia friends. But, we are still in that nebulous time known as "the transition."
We were talking about it over dinner the other night. My kids are doing amazingly well, but man, there is just nothing I could have said that would have prepared them for this. It's kind of like having a baby, you just have to go through it in order to understand it.
Pierce chimed in, "Well, I like it here, but..(insert finger under the glasses tear wiping)", he was followed up quickly by Kennedy, "I know there is a lot of opportunity for us here, but I still miss Michigan and my friends." Carter said, "I miss Jericho." (his neighbor friend that lived right across the street from us in Flint). Reagan, "I really like my new dance studio, but Mom, high school is hard." McKinley nodded her agreement. I looked at their faces and could tell that they were all putting on their brave faces, but were still feeling pretty quivery and quaky on the inside.
I'm glad we're here, I feel like it was a good step for us. But, I miss people and familiarity. I miss seeing the faces of friends that I have history with. I even miss being able to gripe about local things and know what I'm talking about. :) I have felt the weight of these emotions just like they have, it is normal, it is healthy to express them...
This was a parenting moment when I knew, I had two choices. We could all commiserate and cry about what we left, or we could figure out how to deal with where we are.
I'm sure you know the one we picked. We sat around the table for a good 30 minutes talking about the future, reminding everyone why we made this choice, talking about the things that are good here and focusing on how blessed we are to have such a tight-knit family. When one of us or all of us have had a tough day, we are so lucky to be able to come home to a place where we belong and are loved. It is here, in this incubator, that we all draw our strength and figure out how to cope. What a gift.
History tells us that young children who survived the holocaust typically went on to lead very full and successful lives. Behaviorists say it is because they learned, at a young age, how to cope. It is one of life's most important skills. Truly, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
We're gonna make it through this, kids. We will come out the other side stronger, with better coping skills and possibly with a southern drawl...but, make no mistake, we will come out. :)