It's hard to explain how a son can steal your heart unless you have a son that's stolen yours.
The relationship between mother and son is unique and different and very special...at least around here. Ethan is my most sensitive child, but he's also my least verbal. At least when it comes to talking about his feelings.
Oh, he loves a good rambling round of Twenty Questions (in which he asks approximately twenty questions on the same topic before moving on to a new topic and starting over...) because he's curious and intelligent and likes to dissect things.
But ask him how he feels and he clams up. Cries. Struggles.
A few weeks before we really knew we were moving back, I started probing the kids. Ethan came with me to run an errand and when I wouldn't let him get something in the gumball machine he said, "You know Grammy would let me get it."
Uh-huh. But I'm not Grammy.
He sighed. "I know." (Read that with an extreme amount of disappointment. Because that's how he said it.)
I said, "You miss Grammy and Poppy?"
"What if we lived back by them, would that be a good thing?"
He thought for a second and said, "You know, I never really wanted to move here in the first place."
So I thought we were golden. It was the girl I was worried about.
Then we explained to the kids that this was a very real possibility, and as I suspected, Sophia cried (she has this great little group of friends at school...)
And Ethan said "Okay. Can I go play the Wii now?"
But then a few days passed and Sophia remembered the good things about Illinois, including her friends there...
And CYT and the school she'd loved...
And Ethan still said nothing.
Then I started getting emails from his teacher. Bad behavior. Wild. Talking out of turn.
At first, my inclination was to punish him. No kid of mine was going to be the troublemaker. I don't care who his daddy is.
But after a couple of days of emails like this, it dawned on me. For all of Ethan's "not caring," I knew that somehow, inside, he was having trouble processing this. In three years of school, he's had three different schools. And the one he loves is the one he's in at the time...which right now, is in Colorado.
I sat Ethan down and told him I'd had another email from his teacher. We talked about his behavior, and then I dug my heels in and tore the band-aid off. "Is something upsetting you? Because usually you only act up when you're upset about something."
It took a minute, but then he burst into tears and said "It's just hard that we might be moving back to Illinois."
I said, "But I thought you were excited because you never wanted to come here in the first place?"
And he said, "But then I started thinking about all the good friends I have here."
And what could I say? Because I've thought about all the good friends I have here too. I've cried over the distance we're now putting between us and them...I've hated how flighty we seem to keep traipsing across the country.
I've had dreams that we're doing the wrong thing mixed in with dreams we're doing exactly what we're supposed to...but more than anything, I've lost sleep worrying about these kids.
I switched schools exactly twice in my life. Once in 2nd grade and once in 9th. It was traumatic both times. Kids are resiliant, yes, but how do you, as a parent, explain that this is the right decision for our whole family...not just for the grown-ups?
How do you give them a chance to explore feelings they're much too young to have when really, you want to be wild and talk out of turn and throw your ball at your classmates just like they're doing?
I know he'll be okay...but he's still processing right now...and so am I. My feelings are so mixed in spite of being so sure we're in the palm of His hand...
And I suppose that's normal...but that doesn't make it easy.
I have no conclusion today. Just ramblings. Just questions. Just typical mom-worry...
And the hope that when all is said and done...we're going to be okay...