Thanks to both of the Sarahs for the gentle push to get me writing again :)
Where to begin?
Around the time I wrote my last post, my family went through a major life change. Since then I have been unsure of what to say on here. It's dangerous to write things publicly when your emotions are raw, so as tempted as I was to write a long, frustrated vent (my roommates refer to this as word-vomiting) I held back because I didn't want to hurt anyone. Now that a couple of months have passed, I hope I will be able to word this in a way that is honest, yet respectful of the people I love most.
Back in August, Lacy and I had an amazing week at the camp we go to every summer. I had gone as a counselor with the DinoMights and Lacy went as a camper.
While we were on the bus coming back from camp, I got a panicked call from my brother telling me that my parents were moving. To the country. In another state. The following Thursday.
To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I knew my parents had been looking at houses, but last I had heard they were looking in our old neighborhood. My worst fear was that they would find a place in the suburbs, but it never even occurred to me that they would move to the country--let alone the country in another state!
First I cried. Then I got angry. I think the first thing I asked my mom was "Have you forgotten that you have black children?!" (harsh, I know, give me some grace). Diversity has always been a top priority for our family. It was a deciding factor in which schools and churches we attended, which programs we were involved in, and up until recently where we lived. My parents have always made sure that we were surrounded by a diverse group of people and to the best of my knowledge, my siblings have never been in a situation where they were the "token" child of color. My mom had spoken on transracial adoption forums about the dangers of raising kids of color in an all white environment, and emphasized how important it was to give them the opportunity to be involved in their culture. We had lived in the city all of our life. I was so incredibly confused! And scared.
Even after I acknowledged that the terrifying images running through my head of klan members attacking my siblings were probably not very realistic, I had other worries. What about dating? An AA friend of mine going to college in the same area my parents moved to had recently told me about all of the challenges she was facing in the dating world related to being an AA girl surrounded by white guys who had little to no experience in regards to diversity. That topic could be a post in itself so I won't go into detail, but it made me want to wrap my arms around my sisters and tell them to stay far away from boys out there! I've heard multiple white girls from rural communities tell me that they would be nervous to introduce a black boyfriend to their dad. Is that going to be a problem when Tekle and Aaron start to date? How will they feel being one of the only kids of color in their schools? Will Zeni know her hair is beautiful even though it's very different than the rest of the girls who will go to school with her? Will the kids lose their ability to navigate cross-culturally?
Now I know that there are tons of very nice people who live in the country.People who are doing incredible things and making the world a better place. People who would never do anything to hurt my siblings and would welcome them into the community with open arms. I know that not everyone who lives in the country is ignorant and that there is plenty of racism in the city as well. I just think that they are more likely to run into problems in a place that is so homogeneous that there isn't a pressing need for dialogue and education on issues of race. Yes, I know that my brothers and sisters will have an opportunity to educate and break-down stereotypes. Heck, just by moving there my siblings brought the diversity level of the town up by .06% It's just that they never really volunteered for that, you know?
On a more selfish level, I was having a really hard time with the thought of them being so far away. I was used to spending time with them daily. I feared that I would become more like an aunt that visits once in awhile than a sister. I knew that I would miss them like CRAZY.
Fast forward to today: The kids are adjusting. They are in school and making friends. They often talk longingly about how they miss the way things were before, but they are making the most out of the situation. To be honest, they are handling this much better than the way my older brothers and I reacted the last time my parents decided to move. Lacy is taking horse-back riding lessons and loving it. My mom is able to stay home full time with Aaron and Zeni. Isaac is still going to the same performing arts school, and is enjoying his senior year (even though it is another state, it's just 45 minutes from the city so he is able to commute).
I try to make it out there to see them once a week, but because of school sometimes I can't. My role as a sister has definitely changed. It hurts to see the kids getting used to not having me around, but the alternative to that would be them being sad and missing me which I certainly don't want either. I miss family dinners. Janaya's facebook status on her birthday said that her day would have been better if she could have eaten dinner with all of her brothers and sisters like usual, and I couldn't have agreed with her more. There have been days where I wanted to rush over to my parent's house and share an exciting piece of news or "word-vomit" (haha I'm really enjoying that term)about one thing or another, but phone calls have had to suffice. I miss having them close-by.
I have had to come to terms with the fact that even though I don't like the situation, it is what it is. I can continue to fight it, but what's the point? I don't want to be mad anymore. I know my parents are trying to make this easier on us. For now my Mom and Janaya come back to the city for church on Sundays. They are willing to spend lots of time driving so that the kids can continue see their friends here. They even had Lacy's old hockey team over for a bonfire and fireworks the other day.
People are dealing with circumstances much harder than this all over the world (like the food shortage in Ethiopia for example) so I try and keep things in perspective. My siblings are clothed, fed, and loved. Things are different, but we will figure it out. That's what you do in a family.You face the hard stuff together and you find ways to make it work. I don't need to love their decision but I need to love them in the midst of it. I still have the coolest family in the universe and I know we are going to be okay.
I had considered continuing to post without ever bringing up the subject of my parents moving, but something felt dishonest about that. It was basically quit the blog or tell the truth. Initially I had decided on the first option which explains the lack of posts over the last few months, but then I started to really miss blogging. This blog has been sort of a family journal and it would be sad to just abruptly end it like that. So there you have it! The truth. It's nice to be back :)
Six Tips for Sad and Hard Days
2 days ago