A Real Story

While we toured the Upper Peninsula at the beginning of this month, Zoe stayed in upstate New York with my mother.  While I taught at Dake last week, Steve joined them and went to Vermont on vacation.

Yeah, it looked good on paper.

Zoe loves her gramma, and her daddy, but the whole time she was gone she asked for me.  Toward the end she cried because she missed her room, and her stuffed animals, and her very own house.  It was a long time away for a not-quite-three-year-old.  And for her mommy.

She got home last night, and it has been incredible having her back – but the change in routine has been rough on her.  She has barely slept, and has been melting down about the most absurd things.  She won’t eat anything but Nutella and scraps off my plate.  She won’t let me out of her sight, except when she angrily tells me to go away.  This is fine, and normal, and more or less what I expected from her triumphant return, but of course it’s a little hard to see her struggle.

I was getting her into bed tonight, and we read a book.  Then, in a stroke of innovation, I told her a mostly apocryphal story about me, when I was ten years old and away at summer camp.  I spent the whole two weeks wishing I was at home, with my own toys and family and room, and not out in the woods with all these weird girls.  Then once I got home again, I found that I was sad and missed camp, and the lake, and the horses, and even some of the weird girls.  I didn’t like the normal family routines anymore because I was out of the habit of them, and it took me a few days to feel right again at home.  But after a few days things all went back to normal and I felt like myself.

I sat back and felt fairly proud of the lesson I’d imparted.  A little obvious, perhaps, but I thought I’d gotten it across.

She looked up from her pillow, and said, “Mommy, can you read me a real story now?”

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