Today we were checking out a new store. Emily, Katie and I were happily going along remarking on the neat-o items. We found some nifty baskets, some cool magnetic calendars, and pig that shot light out of its nostrils when you pushed a button on its back. COOL!
As I pointed out a neat picture hanging thingy to Emily, she was giving me that look. That look that says this is the most boring thing we've ever done and how could I drag her to this stupid store?
I was completely baffled. We had been having a good time until just a minute before but now it looked as if I had done something mortifying and she was humiliated to be in my presence.
"What's wrong," I turned to look directly at her.
"You can't even....," she started and then held her hand up at me in the universal symbol of "if I try to talk I'm going to cry". I waited a minute for her to get herself together and then suddenly she burst out with, "You can't even wait until after my birthday for us to move?!" Then she stomped off to another aisle.
What? Where did that come from? We hadn't even been talking about the move or her birthday or anything!
Katie and I continued walking along and checking things out and after about ten minutes Emily bopped back up to us, "Mama! I found the cutest picture holder!" She took me over to the picture holder that I had shown to her just before she had her snit.
"So what happened back there?"
"I don't know," she told me. "We were looking at the calendar and I was thinking about the dates we could write on it, and of course I was thinking about where my birthday would be on it and then I just.......I don't know."
And this is the start of the emotional upheaval of a move. We go up, we go down, we are high, we are low. We start to pull back from old friends and refuse to make new ones. When I meet new people right now my basic thought process is, "Hi, I don't need to know you." It's a way of buffering all those raw feelings that come when you tear away everyone and everything that is familiar. We also have friends who are suddenly pulling away from us now as well. They are protecting themselves from the hurt we all know is coming. None of us do this on purpose, it's sort of instinct. And it never really helps, but we do it anyway.