Small children have very little idea of permanent; of circumstances being for ‘forever’. I guess I know that better than most people. And I guess my children have a greater concept of the idea that most kids, knowing the reality of death the way they do. After all, what translates permanency more completely than death?
But maybe not. Maybe the concept of death, and the idea of life going on, are two entirely separate mindsets. Either way, watching my five year old son and my almost four year old daughter adjust to the concept of ‘moving to Melbourne’ is both fascinating and a little heart-wrenching. Reality’s a bitch.
Both my kids know that we’re moving, and they know it’s soon. (Five days to go). But that doesn’t necessarily translate into any kind of graspable time frame, when you’re little. The Chop and the Bump both often discuss events that would be happening soon if we weren’t moving, as if they were still going to happen. And I feel like the bad guy, having to intrude with real life and disappoint them every time.
My son discusses reading charts and awards he’s working towards at school, and is devastated when I remind him that he’ll be at a new school soon. The idea of a new awards system does nothing to ease his sadness, which I think I kind of understand. Nothing that ‘will happen’ is an imaginable reality for my kids yet. I try to keep in mind what a scary thing that must be for a small child. He understands how it feels for life to be turned upside down. But has no framework on which to stretch this idea of a ‘new life’ that he will be dumped into very soon.
To add to the general feeling of displacement, both my kids have their birthdays over the next few months. I’m not sure how well the Bump understands that we won’t be going to her favourite party centre to celebrate her turning four. My son only really processed the idea of having his birthday so far away in its true enormity last night, as I attempted to gently explain why we couldn’t invite his friends to a party 800 kilometres away.
Again, telling him he will ‘make new friends’ is no balm to his sads. Poor kid.
I remind myself that my children are only little… they’ll make new friends so easily. And I repeat my mantra, to my kids and myself, over and over. This is an adventure. This is going to be fun.