This is Vivien and Rex on the last day she went to pre school. Rex and I lingered for awhile when I dropped her off in the morning. He loves playing there and I wanted to take lots of pictures of her and her friends.
I am far more sentimental than Vivien. For survival it’s better to be more like her. When I picked her up at the end of the day I asked her if she wanted to give the school a final look. Knowing I would have touched every surface in true OCD style. But, she didn’t want to.
“Come on, let’s go.”
She looked ahead.
This was Vivien the first day she went to pre school by herself. She wore a diaper, and had curls. She also lived in our big house. Everything seemed so much easier. It’s hard not to think of the time she had in preschool in terms of the upheaval, good and bad, that our family went through. Buying dream house, getting pregnant, robbed by Madoff and company, selling dream house, dad’s worsening health. Vivien’s forward moving nature has helped us always move forward. Also, to our credit we tried to craft the move in a positive light. She never saw me screaming, “Holy heck, we are f–ed!”
The moment had finally come when we had to physically walk out of our home. The last mover had left, taking some things to storage, and other things to our rented home. The new owners painter’s were arriving in the morning to cover the walls of our rooms. To take down the wallpaper. All the the things that I thought that would be there for years, that I had painstakingly chose, were to disappear after only a year.
My mom held two month old Rex as we stood on the walkway out front. I had set up that we would have dinner out with my sister and nephew as I knew it would cheer Vivien to see him.
“This is when we say good bye to our house Vivien.” I said kneeling down to her level. “Would you like to go back in one more time and say good bye to your house?”
“No, Mamma, let’s just go.”
In that moment she helped me so much. That’s right, let’s just go. It’s just a house. I had thought I would be ill to walk away from it. But, I wasn’t. I just buckled her and Rex in and we went to dinner. Drove off and didn’t look back.
Late at night when I can’t sleep I sometimes visit every room from our house in my mind. How the sun hit different rooms at different times. How I use to like to sit at the top of the stairs, look down the hallway thinking of how our kids would grow and change here. I think about how it felt to be there before the words, “It’s gone, it’s all gone” were said to me by my husband. The Mandarin orange pillows I had custom made for my kitchen table that I had to leave, that center island, the IRA.
But, of course the best things from that house I took with me. They are sleeping in the next room.
“Let’s just go, Mamma.”
Vivien takes the fun she had in pre school, the friends, the confidence, the toilet training. All the forward moving things she gained in the last two years. She walks out and still has it. She innately knows that. I hope that always stays with her. There are so many things that can shake our confidence .
Once it’s gone, I don’t think you ever get it back.