And we’re back.
We spent the beginning of summer vacation at my parents’ home. It was a good trip. But it was hard. The kids missed Daddy, who could only be there for the last three of the 11 days. And they miss their cousins already.
Our son had a harder time than his big sister. Once a day, he cried–missing Daddy, or, preemptively mourning the end of our visit, missing his cousins. Yesterday, the day we left, he sobbed right after his cousins left. He calmed down, but during the ride to the airport, sobbed. I’ve never seen him so overwrought. I tried to tell him to think about Skype-ing his cousins, showing them his room, his toys… It didn’t help.
After half an hour, I instructed: “Okay. At this point, I can’t do or say anything to make you feel better. You have to take deep breaths and calm down, or you’re going to wear yourself out.”
(I felt like a jerk for saying that. Who tells a six-year-old boy to just calm down? Me.)
His sister, two and a half years older, didn’t have the same reaction. She moved through the transitions from her cousins’ to our own departures with great maturity. But she wanted everybody to visit us in our home. “I love it when we’re together. I love it when people are at our house. Why can’t everybody just visit us?”
They’re both fine now, looking forward to the next trip we’ll all take together (north again, but to the east, to visit Grandma, and see other cousins, just a few days from now).
As for me, I think I’m slightly less than fine. We learned that the person who is ultimately in charge of my husband’s next assignment (and who had him stay put and not move to Europe) is “supportive” of us moving “this summer.” We also learned that the move might not be back to the same city in which my sister and her family lives, the same city in which both our children were born, the same city in which I worked full time and easily envision myself working again, but to a new city.
I learned all this on the last day of school. The day before our trip to my parents’ house. I learned all this as we walked to the car, after giving the school principal a hug and taking a picture. After the principal told me, “You just can’t leave us. You’re not moving anywhere!” I spent a lot of time at the school this year, volunteering. A lot of time. Time equals affection.
The next school year starts in two months. Two and a half, if it’s in a particular city. Hardly any time at all. And an eternity. Time equals pressure.
I made a mistake. Or rather, I keep making the same mistake. I keep getting very attached to things, in the moment I’m in, or in the moments I imagine.
I feel like our son, missing what I want, and grieving the loss of what I have. I feel like our daughter, wanting her home to be the one that everybody visits. Except I don’t really know where “home” is.
“Why can’t everybody just [do exactly what I want]?” is my constant internal refrain.
I am wearing myself out.