Friday, May 15, 2009

Breaking the News to Urban Kid 1

Two nights ago, it was beautiful in Chicago. Urban Kid 1 was comfortable running around in capris and a tank top, steadfastly refusing her mother's offers to grab her a jacket. Urban Dad finally already!! got home waaaaay late from another long day at Great Big Urban High School. We piled the U-Kids into the CR-V and headed to Evanston to Gigio's, a nothing little pizza joint that U-Dad has strangely liked for twenty-odd years.

U-Dad & U-Kid 1 began negotiating for chocolate ice cream with sprinkles, because on a beautiful night in Chicago -- especially one of the first ones that comes paired with long hours of evening light -- bedtimes becomes more of a philosophical idea than a concrete reality.

Well, for U-Kid 2, it was a concrete reality. We parked near the apartment, off-loaded the off-spring and headed towards the door. Except that U-Kid 1 had nailed down a deal of some sort for chocolate ice cream with sprinkles. (u-dad needs nary a Push before he falls right Over, in my humble opinion) So I took U-Kid 2 in for her Evening Toilette and left U-Dad with this instruction:

I'm The Bad Guy all day long. You get to tell her about R moving to Colorado this summer.

He willingly obliged, God love 'im.

Seems that they sauntered down the block -- well, he sauntered, U-Kid 1 hitched a ride on his shoulders. And as they motored down the sidewalk, he told her the news. And we learned that U-Kid 1 not only has a heart -- a sweet, giving, wonderful heart --but that it can be broken.

Her first reply was, "my first two best friends have moved away!"

(reminder: young M left for Vegas about a year and a half ago. U-K 1 still talks about her.)

So they got the ice cream at our regular spot and sat at a table outside. U-K 1 wasn't interested in staking out her own chair or initiating conversations with passers-by (puh-leeze don't let anyone tell you this Chatty Cathy homeschooled kid isn't socialized) or working U-Dad for another fun stop along the way home. She just sat in his lap and let him hold her.

Since then, she's been out of sorts. She just seems sad. I try to pull her out and ask her what's on her mind, but she practices for adolescence by saying just says, "nothing" or "I don't know." She's just not her bright-eyed, upbeat self. Occasionally, she'll ask why R is moving. I tell her that R's mom and dad made a decision to head out there. I'm trying to make it clear that this move is not any kind of comment on R or U-K 1 or their friendship. And when she asks why R's mom and dad want to go to Colorado, I'm not sure what to say. It's pretty in the mountains, and they can afford to buy an actual house with an actual yard and live on one salary so that when R's dad is furloughed from United, he can stay home with the kids for a few years because R has some sort of epilepsy and they want one parent to be home and not travelling for work? Seems a bit heavy to lay on a 5yo, huh?

Our hope is to keep her busy this summer. We'll skip town for a stretch. And then try to keep putting her in front of friends who are actually physcially here.

In the meantime, lots of hugs (she's become a touch clingy the last few days), an extra chapter or two of the bedtime book, me trying to keep my patience a little longer, etc. And tracking down R for playdates.

I'm open to suggestions for anything else, too!


Mothership said...

Oh, boo hoo. I remember when my life-long best friend moved after second grade. Seven years is a long time when it's your whole life. Did you ever think your heart could hurt so much because of the pain of another?

You are a good mama. I'm kinda glad you don't live anywhere near me because your homeschooling efforts would put me to shame. (:

Jenni said...

Looked it up and I see that really is Jesse Jackson reading Green Eggs and Ham. I believe that's the most sense I've ever heard out of the man!

Redefining Paradise- Rachel said...

Ohhh I've been there, both sides in fact. Them are sad times......but life truly does go on and new friends come into our lives and when we stay connected to the old friends it gives us a chance to visit new places. The internet has made staying in touch a whole new world, and one that allows us to stay personally connected to folks anywhere.

I hope the sadness doesn't linger too long

chicago_mom said...

She can always play with us! Next year will be our first "real" homeschooling year (as will be the first year that Claire won't be able to attend the waldorf school a few days/week). So...we'll be looking for more and more activity. And we're about to buy another house in Chicago so we're not going anywhere! We've had friends move a lot too. Ugh.

rita said...

Poor baby. I moved when I was 11 and it took years to forgive my parents for doing that to me (why yes, I am the center of the universe.) But like someone else said, there are easier ways to maintain a long distance relationship than those letters that took weeks to go back and forth.....

Dy said...

{{hugs}} all around.

It sounds like you're handling it just beautifully. it's hard. The hugs help. The gentle willingness to listen helps. Sometimes, it's just going to hurt. :-( But I think you have hit the key points to guiding her through it.

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