My J is getting really anxious about our upcoming move. We are planning to leave in about 4 weeks. Every night we have to talk about why we are moving, and go through all his worries: that he won't meet any friends, that he won't like the weather, that our new house will be too small. He asks why we have to move. We go over it again; Daddy and I know that Dad should go to seminary. We just know it's right. J knows it too, in his head. He gets it. But his heart isn't there yet.
E is a little quieter about it now; she had her sad times and maybe is already feeling better about it. Or maybe she's just not talking right now. She likes feeling superior to her older brother so maybe she's enjoying looking like the mature child... hard to tell with that girl!
Yesterday was really hard; it was our last visit with some really good friends. New friends, but still. These are kids both J and E clicked with the minute they met. There was none of that awkwardness that can come with meeting a new kid. They met and immediately started having fun. Those are hard friends to say goodbye to.
There are also some friends they've known all their lives. Literally - we met one family when our oldest kids were 18 months old, and the next oldest were newborns. That family went on to have 2 more kids; we stopped. We still see them often. My kids don't know what it's like not to see them several times a month.
There are old friends who don't live so close anymore, but close enough we can visit on a day trip or a quick overnight.
There are friends we knew we would enjoy but didn't have time to get to know well.
And all the other friends too!
J did show some wisdom in our latest talk. Our current house is not in a neighborhood, so my kids don't have spontaneous play opportunities with kids on the block. So they don't deal much with mean kids, or kids they just don't get along with. Our new house will be in an old-fashioned American suburb. Potential for lots of kids (or, maybe not; we visited the house on a school day so didn't see anyone, but it looks like a kid neighborhood). He is nervous about that, about meeting a bully. He said "here's my tactic for meeting new kids in the neighborhood. I'll keep an eye on everyone to see how they treat the other kids. If they aren't nice to the other kids, I'll steer clear." We talked about being kind to everyone but not making a close friendship with any one person right away - about discernment and how to develop that when it comes to people.
Of course I'm a little nervous about the whole neighborhood thing too. I've never lived, as a mom, in a "regular" neighborhood. I've always been able to pick and choose the people we come in contact with. I've never experienced some of the things my friends have: kids stopping by, asking to come in and play, even though the parents don't know each other. Neighbors who expect the stay-home mom to watch over the neighborhood while they're at work. People who are loud or vulgar or have the tv blasting some kind of garbage I'd rather my kids didn't sit around to watch. These are the experiences of people I know! Of course they have nice neighbors too, but it's always so much easier to focus on the scary parts of moving.
I've been reading Moving With Kids by Lori Collins Burgan. Nothing I didn't already know, but good reminders. She goes over the stages of grief, a la Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (who wrote in the context of dying): denial, grief, anger, acceptance. I think I missed one. Anyway, my kids are in the grief stage now. Wonder if we can skip that anger stage?