Wednesday, September 14, 2011

She could have been a contender

I am racked with fear and guilt that I have ruined my daughter's life.

This was going to be a great school year.  She was at a school she loved, with friends who loved her.  Her favorite teacher of all times was just down the hall, available for quick hugs and advice.  She won the back-of-the-school-tee-shirt-art contest, her art would be worn occasionally by other members of the student body on their school shirts.

This was a situation that had taken many years to grow. It started that our next door neighbor and for many years Thing 1's best friend was one of the inherently "cool kids" in school.  He's a cute and nice and athletic little boy, who for some reason or another was just born cool.  He has always been very kind to Thing 1 and 2, and though their friendship has had a few ups and downs, for the most part they've been very good friends since they could both walk.  He was over at our house or the girls were over at his house most of the time.  Just associating with him has given Thing 1 a certain vicarious coolness.
She has developed a bunch of other friends over the years, and was for the most part very comfortable and happy in her relationships.  I had found an after school art program where she was able to further vent her artistic side, when she found the regular programs in the school insufficient for her needs. However her 4th grade teacher was going to be the teacher in the school who is most actively involved in the school arts program.  Everything was perfect, except our house was too small.

Then we picked her up by the short hairs and moved her 30 minutes East.  Not far in the grand scheme of things, but way too far for me to drive her to her old school.
While Thing 1 gained her own room (with its own PATIO) and a huge back yard,  she lost everything else.
Since we moved she has been experiencing various stages of continuing misery, from substantial discomfort to abject sorrow.  Sometimes it's minor but it seems to be lurking beneath the surface at all times.  Things that didn't bother her before have now become daunting and scary.  Shyness that I had previously never seen has suddenly erupted all over the place.  In all directions.  When I suggested SHE has to approach people and ask to play with THEM, she was horrified. I think all her life other people have sought out her company.  She's never had to initiate social contacts.  When I told her that it's flattering for other kids to be told their game looks interesting and that you'd like to join, she insisted if someone told her that she'd be embarrassed. 
"You'd be embarrassed if someone wanted to join YOUR game?"   Yes.  Sob.

I don't know how to handle this. 
I keep reviewing our decision to move here... We knew from the first minute we were househunting that the girls wanted to stay in the same neighborhood, but we also knew that what we wanted didn't exist in that neighborhood, and if it did we couldn't afford it.  There were other reasons we had for moving up here, many of them most important to Hubby but valid for the rest of us.  I find myself doing quick real estate searches to find if anything was/is available in our old zip code.  But would we move back?  Not hardly...

Though there are things that keep surfacing about this area that we like, and about the house that we like, I am caught up in fretting over Thing 1.  When my baby's sad, it makes me sad too.  

She did have a lovely birthday, which I need to write about.  But the pictures of that are trapped in the camera because I can't find the cord that connects it to the computer (it's in a box somewhere), and today this is on my mind.  I need her to find a friend... a good friend... and fast.

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