Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Some forever, not for better.

We had a house.

It used to be a trailer, but my dad built around it and made it into a house. It was on crawl space. It was a yellow house. The screen door on the front was brown. There was a deck on the back of the house. It went all the way around from the back door to the sliding glass door in the living room. It wrapped around the house like a hug. My dad built that deck one summer.

In the backyard we had a creek and woods. We had blackberry bushes that bloomed in the summertime. When I was about nine or ten we had a pool. Above ground, but we were still the most fancy of all of our neighbors and relatives.

I lived in that house when I was a little girl.

I went to Elementary school with a bunch of kids who were about the same as me. Every year, kindergarten through fifth grade, it was the same group of kids. We would be shuffled around a bit, sometimes, as there were three teachers in each grade. But it was the same group of kids, always.

I went to Middle school with the same group of kids. A new group of kids came in too, from another Elementary school. They became part of our group of kids. We all went to school together from sixth through eighth grade.

I went to High school with the same kids. All of us, now, and then another school came together. We moved in and out of groups and made friends with the kids from the rich school, but we were all in it together. We went to school together, a lot of us, for thirteen years.

I don’t see any of those kids anymore. I’m sure they have kids of their own now…families, lives, jobs. In my mind they are still all eight years old and we are on the playground. I am saying to Jason Lawson, “Do you know it says piss in the Bible?” Andy Edison is bringing his E.T. toy out of his locker to show us what he got for Christmas. Elizabeth Williams has those long, beautiful braids just like Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie. She eats Pepperoni bread for lunch, though. She tells me to name my new doll Lucy.

Most of them would not remember me, I’m sure. I’m a non-entity to most of the people I know currently, much less people who knew me more than twenty years ago. But I remember them. And mostly? I remember us. The wonderful feeling of having a group of people who know all about you and think you are nice or good or kind.

My children went to kindergarten in North Carolina. They went to first grade in one school in Tennessee and second, third, and fourth grade in another. I am contemplating, now, taking them to another state for fifth grade.

I don’t know what it’s like to move a lot. I never moved as a child, with the exception of moving on our own land when I was fourteen. We built a house but we didn’t really move. My children have comfortably settled into a routine here. They have friends. They have their after-school program. They are “the twins” at school and I think they like that. That identity. That feeling like they belong.

Now, as an adult, I am aware of how the people I grew up with don’t technically matter anymore. I don’t think of them and I’m sure they don’t think of me. We’ve all moved on. We have our lives. We have kids. We probably never think of that little school…well, hardly ever. We hardly ever think of those people anymore. The fact that we had a bond and we had the same people we could count on, love or hate, for thirteen years doesn’t seem very important now, at the age of thirty-two.

But it was very, very important when I was a little girl, on the jungle gym with Wendy and Elizabeth and Andy and Chris. I never realized how much so, until now.


Angie said...

You know what I'm going to say, if it happens. . . we had BETTER schedule that lunch at Puleo's or Aubrey's.

That's all I'm saying....

Heather J. said...

We are a military family,we move often. My kids have been to 7 differrent schools...when they were younger, they thought moving was a fun adventure...when they hit middle school,they cried and were very angry.
They have been resilient through it all, but I know they wish we would just move somewhere and stay there forever.
It's hard not to have a "forever" home.

pam said...

Interesting to think of. But you know even though you don't think of it often it does matter in a HUGE way because it made you who you are. Just as your kids' lives are making them who they will become. Good or bad their experiences now will shape them. It is too bad that kids now days don't have that sense of community that comes from living in the same place and having the same group of friends their whole lives. But it is and it IS ok.

Jennilu said...

Speaking from the perspective of a child that had to change schools 3 times between Kindergarten and 6th grade, it is an uncomfortable adjustment. I was always sad to leave my old school and friends behind. The unknown at my new school was pretty scary, as well. I never liked being the new kid with no friends; but, that only lasted for about a week or two. I know it was harder for me because I was so shy; but your kids will be in a totally different situation since they are twins and will have each other. What ever you decide, they will be fine.

Anonymous said...

I moved A LOT when I was a kid. Typical for a military family, really. Four elementary schools. One middle school. Three high schools. From middle school to high school was the worst. By high school I was resilient and strong. I was comfortable being by myself and knew better than a lot of kids my age who I was.

I say each course is unique for each kid. Some may not have fared so well in my same circumstances. I might have been miserable being with the same kids. You just never know.

Each experience brings them growth and learning experiences for how to tackle their future challenges. You are a strong family unit, and THAT is the most important, IMO.

As an adult now, I adapt to change well. I roll with the punches. I think on my feet. I have always attributed that to moving every two years. And those qualities have helped me out in tremendous ways as an adult. Just like the qualities your children have and will develop will help them. :)

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

The previous comment? Makes all the points I might choose to make. And brilliantly so.

Above all other considerations I think you need to consider your happiness and sanity. Current job? Not helping with either. That's my take, anyway.

You're such a fabulous mum though, to be seeing things from their perspective like that.

PaintedPromise said...

hey Chick i only have one thing to add to these great comments - as long as YOU are their mom, the twins will be fine wherever they live!

notsosmallfries said...

I moved a ton as a kid. If you count the different preschools I attended, I went to 12 schools by the time I graduated from high school (where I attended all 4 years in the same school). One academic year, I attended 3 different schools.

Most of my changes were in early childhood. My last ones were mid-year in 4th grade, summer between 5th and 6th grade, and then a new high school where I knew only one person the first day.

I agree with the previous poster that I think it is part of why I adapt to new social settings really quickly.

I also agree with the military mom that said it is harder for adolescents to change. I think going to the same high school all four years really made it easier for me to not resent all the earlier shuffling.

Boy Child and Girl Child will adapt if you need to move. You guys will be great where ever you settle.

Tarasview said...

I moved constantly as a child... probably once a year. I did ok. And yes, there are consequences. My husband never moved until he left home. Neither of us have kept in touch with childhood friends so I guess it didn't make too much of a difference.

Stephanie said...

I worried about this constantly, being a military wife. I didn't have that though, I went to one school from 1st-4th grade and the other from 5th-12th. I didn't fit in because they had all been together since Kindergarten and I was pissed my parents moved me, so I really didn't try with them. My husband had the opposite, he has a friend he knew since birth. I wanted that for my girls, but they really won't ever have it.

I have learned not to worry so much about it anymore. My kids are outgoing (I was not) and kind of pushy (not me either). So I think they will be fine. And I bet your kids would be just fine too.

Tricia said...

We moved, literally, one neighborhood over, but it changed my daughter's school. I thought it would be the end of her little world. It ended up being much better for her. She was never unhappy in her other school, but this school just fits her better. Sometimes, change is good.

Kelly said...

I was like you growing up...same place for all schooling with the same kids. So I have no idea what it is like to move. Good thing about children is they are resilent and they will adapt and fit in no matter where they are!

Anonymous said...

I was moved around so much as a kid that I went to 17 different schools. I didn't even go to kindergarten - just straight into 1st grade. So that's 17 schools in 12 years. Also? I spent the last 3 years at one (the same) school. That means I kept switching school during each school year up until 9th grade.

It is not recommended. I hated it. I never fully felt I fit in anywhere because of it, during those years. Yeh, I learned to adapt - but looking back I would have much rather had some stability and continuity.

I agree it's more important in the teenage years. Thankfully, I was allowed to stay in one school the last three years.

perdido said...

As everyone said, it was pretty upsetting to leave behind familiarity and friends, but I do think it helped me in the long run - I was a very shy and backward child, but by the time I hit high school I was outgoing and friendly. It also helped me be more...modern, I'm pretty sure if I would've stayed where I grew up, I would've been pretty backwards.

Angie said...

I had forgotten that I posted. I just was haunted by the memory of my childhood friends. . .Roger, Lisa, Christy, Nancy (she really was not that nice), Kayla, Adrienne. . .

Thanks for making me reflect back. It was good for me to do so!

Dawn~a~Bon said...

I don't have much experience with moving. I moved from a county elementary school to a city middle school, and that was hard, but I don't think Boy Child and Girl Child would have the same sort of problems I did.

You write beautifully. I love how you said that the porch wrapped around the house like a hug.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It IS important. Sure, they may not be in your lives now but they were back then. I have moved a lot in my life. It was hard for me, losing all my friends. I adapted though. I think the thing that hurt me the most was two things: one being that when I went from a different state after middle school to high school, I noticed the academic level was a LOT higher, making it a bit tougher for me education wise. The other thing was I didn't have any friends going into high school (scary) and it was soooo different then where I was (inside halls instead of outside)
I still remember standing there, awkwardly, wondering how I'd know to go to class, and wishing it would start so I wouldn't stand there by myself.

But of course, they're twins, so at least they would have each other to lean on. I was an only child.

Jill said...

I think that it's awesome that your kids have had a chance to move around and do different things and meet different people. and I'll tell you why.

i went to school with the same stupid (cross that out), umm smart ass (wait, start over), annoying, yeah that's it, kids forever. i purposefully did not go to college with any of them. there were twins in our class, girls, and they were mean as hell. they thought they were hot stuff and made sure everyone else did too. they were 'too good' and always tried to institute an US vs THEM mentality, up through high school. When I was sexually harrassed in junior high by their cousin, they and their army threatened me and told me that that was just teasing that was normal in their family and they would hurt me if I ever complained again (I umm, still wonder to this day if he ever actually TOLD them the nasty stuff he harassed me with every day for months on end, somehow i doubt it), oh did I mention almost everyone in the school was related to each other, I think there were only a handful that WERENT cousins, including me. I was an outsider. I wasn't born in S or J (45 and 20 minutes away), oh my god i was born in Q (1.5 hrs away) so that made me 'not one of them' --yes I'm serious. They kept this up all the way through high school. Needless to say the teachers hated these kids, of course THEY never got in trouble, but all our priveledges were stripped away. anything the other grades got to do, we didnt because we were 'bad' -- instead of trying to triumph over their reputation, they bought into it and PROVED to the teachers how bad they could be. Graduation was a total embarrassment. It made J's paper and shamed the community. I was so glad to leave all that behind, and I've thrived since then. Then I go home and my mom wants to know why I dont want to go to class reunions. Why I dont seek out those 'people' to be friends.. gee mom you think its because I never had anything in common with them ? Okay how about they treated me like crap? No? Well so far no answer has been good enough. She says that likely they've changed. Well the last time I saw most of them, they hadn't changed. They have facebook accounts with pictures of them drinking heavily on them and glorifying partying, when they should be acting a bit more like adults. They have upper crust roles in the surrounding communities and yet they publicize public drunkenness as a good thing. Whatever.

See, I think your kids are lucky. They dont have time to get shoved into any particular role, they may be the new kids for a couple of months, but after that they start to get a little more into it and its not so bad. much better than my experience. much.

Anonymous said...

I think that moving your kids depends on a lot of things, but mostly it depends on your kids. I moved my son during 8th grade, and again for 9th grade (don't ask - it was a tough year!). I was worried about its effect on him, but he's outgoing and friendly and a natural born leader, so things came together for him with little effort.

Moving is never easy, but if your kids make friends easily, it really helps. Also, they have each other and that helps. My son is an only, so he didn't have siblings, but I don't think it really impacted him during our moves.

You are right that those early childhood friendships don't seem to mean a lot in the grand scheme of things. Years from now, it will be relatively unimportant to your kids. Right now, though, it may matter. I'd talk to them and get a feel for what they think. Even though YOU will be the one to make the decision, I think it's wise to know their feelings on the matter.

SJINCO said...

Your kiddo's seem very well adjusted and while they feel a sense of identity in their current situation, I be they'd do just fine in a new environment. Kids are resiliant. They adapt.

It's your choice ultimately - go with your gut. You know them best and you know what feels right.

Amy W said...

Kids adapt really, really well. And just from what I read about your kids, they will adapt well with whatever you throw at them.

Joy T. said...

I think if you are thinking about all those old school friends at the age of 32? They will be thinking of you too. But I also believe in rainbows and the kindness of others so I tend to have high hopes for this planet. Boy and Girl Child will do very well because you have raised them to do very well. You're their safe place and it's a whole lot easier moving if you know you always have a safe place.

Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...

I only changed schools twice as a child. I went to school here in Memphis for Kindergarten, then moved to Texas that next summer where I spent 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades. I can tell you that moving back really really bothered me at the time. But after a little while, I made new friends here. I went on to high school with those same friends. Some I still keep in touch with. I met my bff in high school and had we not moved back here, I never would have. I guess what I am saying is that while it may be hard for them at first, everything happens for a reason.

And they will always have you, Jason and each other.