This is how we broke the news to our children:
Husband: You know how you guys have been begging for cable TV? Now, you're going to get it, just not in this house.
Kids: We're going to get cable?!? Cartoon Network and everything??
Husband: Yep, but it'll be in Washington, D.C.
My son pumped his fist in the air and shouted, "Go Redskins! Does this mean we can go watch them play?"
My daughter slumped down in her chair and gave me an accusing look. "You're ruining my life. Don't you know it's impossible to make friends in sixth grade? Everyone's all grouped up! My clothes are going to be all wrong."
Technically, it'll be Northern Virginia. Some suburb-y beltway town where the schools are good and big trees will cover our lawn with leaves in the fall.
And we're only going for eighteen months. It's a sabbatical year and a half, at least that's how I've been trying to sell it to my daughter. But she's a suspicious customer and not overly interested in purchasing my version of reality.
She is, however, interested in the shopping trip I've promised to alleviate her fears about fitting in.
The things is, I get it. Every woman gets it.
Part of the long-lasting popularity of Judy Blume books is due to their enduring themes of girlhood trauma. No one wants to walk into a room full of sixth grade girls wearing Keds when you're sporting Converse. It's a small, seemingly unimportant detail, but to my sixth grade girl it's more monumental than any of the actual monuments we'll soon be able to see on a weekend whim.
What's more, I completely understand my daughter's angst. Already I'm mourning the loss of my Saturday morning eighties step aerobic class with friends, followed by coffee and conversation that kickstarts our day and keeps us sane.
What am I going to do without that? What am I going to do without them? What if the women in my temporary suburban home don't want to have coffee with me because, you know, women of my age are already kinda grouped up. What if they're not taking on any new friends?
The kids have had almost a week to adjust to the news. There've been ups and downs. I've discovered the reason parents bribe their children is because it works. I've also discovered the parameters of bribes should be clearly defined.
Me (handing them a catalog): It's going to be so much fun! You can design your new room.
Daughter (after 20 minutes spent absorbed in said catalog): I'll take the room that looks like it has a connected bathroom, a window seat and a deck.
Me: I meant bedspread and curtains.
Son: Can I get a loft bed shaped like Darth Vader's head? And what about my own iPad? That would look good in my room.
Me: Let's just focus on bedspreads and curtains.
A low point for all of us, is my husband has to start work the first week of June which means we'll spend the summer sans daddy, but soaking in more time with our beloved Oregon peeps, both family and friends who feel like family.
There's no doubt it'll be an adventure. But we're still inching along the diving board and all of us, with the exception of Child #2, are a little bit nervous about the temperature of our new swimming pool.