Of Beach Umbrellas in the Gray

It's cold and wet and pretty nasty weather here, for Austin. In the 30's and not moving much. Naturally, the weather forecast did not mention rain (don't get me started) so I didn't bring in our jaunty pool umbrella and it is stationed by the pool, lifting its bedraggled colors in attempt to mitigate all the gray.

I feel sort of gray myself.

We're headed into the last stretch of home improvement/repair before we list our house for sale on Wednesday. I wouldn't say we can see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but we definitely are past the half-way point. (Hello out there!) While my husband was gone to New York this week, I did a LOT of work. In fact, I probably did a bit too much.

Because last night, when Jane (7) saw the new blinds in the living room? (Dudes, I replaced our disgusting and dated mini-blinds with these fake wood ones that are all the rage. Well, the FAKE ones aren't all the rage but the real ones are and for my purposes and budget, the fake ones looked plenty real enough. Anyway, it looks much nicer. And yes, I DID just illustrate a digression with a photo. Why do you ask?)

Anyway, when Jane saw the new blinds, she burst into tears. "I want the old blinds back! Nothing in here looks like HOME."

So, then later, as she was going to bed, she cried again about the move. She's worried because she won't know anyone and it's not THIS house and she's afraid the kids up there won't like her. It's funny because I'm so confident that Jane will be completely fine that I haven't paid much attention to what are totally natural fears of the unknown on her part. It's just like the rain that sneaked up on me, you know? I should have been more prepared.

I stayed with her and wiped her face and gave her butterfly kisses and told her all about what I knew of the place where we're moving and in the end, her eyes were closing as her tears tapered off and she fell asleep. I stayed there for a bit, watching her sleep and fighting the urge to just call this whole move from Texas to New York off.

I truly believe that it's going to be a great life experience for my kids. I think that in the end it will be one of those defining events --the event where they learn that not everyone sounds the same as their Texas friends. The one where they learn that there is culture bigger than what Austin has to offer. Where they learn what it's like to walk into a classroom full of strangers and walk out with friends.

But as I've been focused on getting this house ready to sell, I've forgotten about preparing the path looking forward to New York for my children --which just seems unforgivably stupid now, in retrospect. Because my kids are THINKERS, and while I've been rushing around like a mad woman assuming that I'll have plenty of time later to prepare them for the move, they've been doing a lot of imagining on their own now. Having moved so often as a kid, I guess I forgot how scary the whole concept is for kids who have NEVER moved. Jane was born in this house, you know? And she is just the brightest, sunniest, sparkliest little kid. It always takes me by surprise when she admits her fears or sensitivities. I'm so very certain that she is going to take Long Island by storm that I forgot that even little Hurricanes get cold and afraid.

I think maybe I lost sight of the fact that, even in Jane's world, sometimes it looks very gray and sometimes she stands there with her colors a bit bedraggled in the face of it.

But it's okay, Janie, because no matter where we are, these gray rainy days never last very long. I love you so much, my little sweetheart. I'll do better from now on not getting caught unaware when a front moves through.


Tenna Draper said…
Moving to a new place is pretty daunting for little kids--they worry about all sorts of things. Tell Jane to get everybody's email (especially her best-friend's email) so she can email and text back and forth, and let her know that just like in Austin, there will be girls and boys that are very friendly, and can't wait to meet her, but do also tell her it's important for her to smile and be friendly BACK--and to let THEM come most of the way--because any desperation on her part will be met with avoidance--I know...I was the desperate one. :)
Ei said…
Uhhh...tandem lives...the same but different. I have to tell you something on this subject matter, but I'll do it privately.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you are an amazing writer, girlfriend.
Anonymous said…
When we started talking about selling The Only Home and looking for something else, our youngest started hugging walls - and she was fifteen and eagerly looking forward to moving out on her own. Then she developed an aversion to what she termed "one wall brick" houses. We did move. She did like our new house (which provided her, and us, much more privacy). It does not have "one wall brick".
Jennifer said…
Hi Barb, it's your virtual friend, Jen here. in chilly Cleveland. Barb, you are making me cry. The love you have for your children gives me chills. I don't have any sage advice for the move, but you don't need it, just keep loving your girls this much and they will ALWAYS be ok. I'm crying again, now.
Marion Gropen said…
If you tell us what town you finally decided upon, some of us up here may have suggestions. (Do I remember Northport/Centerport?) Obviously, we'd want to email them to you privately, the Net being what it is, but I'll guess we can come up with some places that they'll find local kids playing.

And maybe we can come up with some other "brighteners." Any subjects that light up their worlds?
Anonymous said…
When we moved back to NJ from Oklahoma, I contacted the school my daughter would be going to and asked them to put me in touch with her soon-to-be 4th grade teacher. Miss M was wonderful, had moved often as a kid, and really went the extra mile to welcome us. She had the class put together a book telling our daughter about themselves and the school, one page per child with pictures. She emailed DD to ask her questions and let her know what was going on in class. The class even made a welcome video! DD, a worrier born, was not happy about the move but has never forgotten how much Miss M helped her. Perhaps you can work with both girls' teachers on something similar? P.S. She now tells me she is glad we moved, as she thinks the kids here are much nicer!
Lynn said…
Congratulations, Barb! You’ve just won the “You Make My Day” award. Come steal the button from my blog and pass it on!

I'm heading out to Central Market in a few minutes. I'll wave at the wine bottles for you as I roll past them toward the maple syrup and the breads...
New York welcomes you! Please tell Jane.

Moving is hard. For everyone. But then filled with so many new experiences and opportunities.

You are a good, sweet mama.
MadMad said…
Aw... But we all forget the forest for the trees, sometimes. Especially when trying to sell a home. There is pretty much nothing worse than trying to sell a home. Except for packing it up, after, maybe. And unpacking after that.... ;)
TheOneTrueSue said…
Sniffle. Beautiful post.
Love the diversity umbrella.