I’m still trying to figure out how a homebody like myself has managed to relocate both far and frequently- 4 cities, 1 island, 7 different homes in 10 years. Moving was a lot simpler when I was responsible for two people’s junk. Now that we are a family of five, moving basically means that I forfeit most of “my stuff” in order to make room for more of “their stuff”, which I think lends itself well as a metaphor for raising kids: your stuff is important but their stuff takes precedence. I have had my fair share of stress these last six months but making the best of every situation for the girls’ benefit has been just as beneficial to me. And I’ve got to hand it to my parents [Hereinafter referred to as “Poppy” and “Yia Yia”] for always being helpful and encouraging, especially with the girls, when I know that inwardly they were dreading the day we moved.
For the last few moves our priority has been to have the kids’ room set up first- and NOT just to keep them entertained and out of our hair while we unpack. As usual, Nora Ruth has made a pretty easy transition. She tells me frequently that she “loves the Caribbean”, she is always asking when we can try out the next “new” thing on the island, she is throwing around the qualifier “my favorite beach” like a pro, and she is meeting and greeting like she’s interviewing for permanent residency. This evening we were at West Bay Beach buying ribs and when the man handed us our plate and wished us a “pleasant evening” she made sure to position herself right in front of him before saying, “you have a nice evening, too!” This may actually have a lot to do with the fact that she envisions him tossing her a free rib or two if she butters him up.
Alliene is taking cues from her sister but she definitely has her own range of feelings about the changes taking place. Immediately after our arrival, I noticed that she was quieter than usual but if “quiet” is the only symptom, color me relieved for more reasons than one! Yia Yia stayed with us for three weeks and when she returned to Mississippi, everything that Alliene had been feeling about the move bubbled up and even though her two-year-old emotions and perceptions aren’t totally comprehensible, it was pretty clear that Yia Yia’s departure finally gave her a way to express some of the sadness she had been feeling. When she became overly tired she would cry in her bed, “I want Yia Yia!” Sometimes she would ask, “Did YiaYia go to Columbus?” and often she would say, “When YiaYia comes back, I want her to bring Poppy and Izzy and Vivi and Maggie (only half of Poppy & Yia Yia’s pack of dogs). Most of the time I felt sure that her sadness was mild and that she was coping pretty well. I did start to worry a little when she awoke several times crying and told me that she was “dreaming about Yia Yia” and how she missed her.
I was very proud to announce last week that Yia Yia would be arriving soon and even more excited to tell them on Tuesday night that when they woke the next morning we’d be getting ready to go pick Yia Yia up from the airport. We packed a lunch and took it to the Airport Park where we ate, played, and watched Yia Yia’s plane land on the runway behind us. The girls loaded up in the car in record time to drive a couple of blocks to the airport where they waited like CHAMPS for Yia Yia to walk out of the terminal. They stood – outside in the heat- for forty-five minutes with nothing but happy, excited little faces. I was floored that their patience and their eagerness never ebbed.
Yia Yia is back. This is going to be a good week.