The Kids

Dear J-

So how are the kids doing, you might ask, and well you do. One of the big fears I had in moving here was the idea the kids wouldn’t adjust well. You know figgy just finished kindergarten (kindergarten! when did this happen?) and had some pretty amazing friends, including probably one kid she would be friends for life. She’d started Girl Scouts too. Calcifer was in a good preschool, and though I’m sure he was at the age where kids keep playing near but not with each other, he had his scheduled round of kids to meet, and adults to hug. Life was good, and I had to go and uproot that. I was prepared to continue my job search in the area doing things I might not have been comfortable with just so we could stay local and not disrupt their lives.

Another engineer told me that kids were resilient and the first inkling I had of that was after the house was emptied: we took them in and declared empty house EMPTY HOUSE EMPTY HOUSE!! which they took to naturally, as kids will do when you show them something familiar and strange all at once, excitement and joy and running around. (As figgy picked up over the past month: “I running, I running — oof,” pretending to stumble). In the end I think the only ones who were traumatized were the cats, one of whom developed motion sickness on the long car ride up (every half hour, I thought we were passing through some sort of sulfurous hot spring. we were not. several towels were discarded.) and the other who we nearly left behind as we couldn’t find him (Simon, who after being locked in the bathroom and cowering in the tub while large men removed everything, ran into the empty house and hid behind the washer until bare minutes before we left).

And it’s proven true in the ensuing weeks: the kids have had little issues. We have to remind them regularly they’re sharing their floor with someone’s ceiling (this consists of us yelling at them that we’re going to get kicked out if you don’t STOP JUMPING and THUMPING around.) and there have been some issues in getting her prepared for school, but we expected those — the new school had been in session for a month by the time we rolled around — and we’re working through them. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn more Chinese characters as well. Should I ever become fluent or semi-fluent I can put that on my resume, so thanks.

Moving outside your comfort level means you become a little more fearless, day by day. This has been a terrifying experience for us, but the kids? Not so much. They showed up one day and everything was packed for them, ready to go, with liberty and justice for all, hallelujah and amen, what are you waiting for c’mon already. But they’re stretching too and though I don’t foresee the kind of itinerant existence say a military career would prescribe I also understand how difficult that is and I’m at ease with the disquieting decision to pull up and move. Inertia is powerful, but we have muscles for a reason.




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