The last time we made a major state-to-state move our oldest child was just 6 and our youngest 18 months. When we told the girls we were moving back then, there was some sadness from the 6-year-old, but it was short-lived and easily compensated. The others didn't really care so long as we packed their special blankets and toys.
Fast-forward six years: My husband, Craig, has just accepted a new position as head of school at Veritas Classical Academy in Oklahoma City. While our girls had known for several weeks that the move was a strong possibility, the official offer came one week ago today.
As we were eating dinner that night, Craig asked each girl for her honest thoughts about the opportunity, as we would give serious weight to their thoughts on the matter. One by one the girls started telling us about all the things they love about life in St. Louis and the people they would miss. One by one they all said that while they were sad to move and leave their friends, they were a little excited about the change and the possibility of having their own rooms.
All of them were excited, that is, except one: Our second-born definitely was not OK with the change, and she said so in so many words.
After dinner, Craig and I talked about his last-minute plan to fly to Oklahoma City one more time to meet with the board. We had one frequent-flier plane ticket for him to use, but I looked at him and said he should think about taking Chloe with him. We both realized that some daddy/daughter time was what she needed, but because we didn't have a second free ticket lying around, this meant driving the 16-hour round-trip so she could go with him.
The next day, after teaching all day and coaching baseball practice that afternoon, Craig came home, ate dinner, packed up, and headed off to Oklahoma City in the pouring rain with our 10-year-old daughter who desperately needed a dose of stability and security.
From the time they left home until the time they returned, 44 hours passed. And somewhere in that span of 44 hours of open road, one-to-one discussions, and burgers and shakes at Kaiser's in downtown OKC, a switch flipped in her mind and in her heart. On the way home she told her father, "You know, I'm still sad about leaving St. Louis, but I'm more open to the idea of moving now."
That was exactly the point. I know she will continue to struggle through the process of our transition, maybe more acutely than any of the rest of us. But I hope she knows in her core that we understand and will walk her through it every step of the way.