This is Elaine, and she’s very tired. She almost certainly doesn’t have the worst problem you’ve heard about here. She still has both her parents, lots of friends, and good health. So what’s the big deal, you might ask? Well, the point is that her family has moved between 10 towns in 3 years, and now she just wants to have a rest!
Elaine ought to say a couple of words about her parents. They’re really cool, they’re funny and open-minded, they let her do anything she wants – essentially, they’re more like friends than parents to her. As far as she’s aware, before getting married they lived quite an interesting life, traveling the world as backpackers, living in tents and campers. When her mom got pregnant, they decided to get married and settle down in one place, which seemed like the right decision. Despite their hippie lifestyle, they come from rich families and both have quite a good education, so it wasn’t hard for them to find good jobs.
Ironically, Elaine is the complete opposite of her parents. She doesn’t like change, and she doesn’t like to move around a lot. She likes it when her friends and family are by her side, and she enjoys doing the same things every day – it gives her a feeling of safety. Sometimes, her parents laugh and say that she seems to be someone else’s child rather than theirs. Elaine herself sometimes even thinks that she’s a far more serious person than they are, but of course she still loves them a lot and can’t imagine better parents.
But there’s one thing that drives her crazy. Three years ago, her mom gave birth to her baby brother, and her dad got a new, better-paid job. The difference was that he had to move a lot from town to town, staying no more than 3-6 months in each place. Mom and dad were of course delighted by this turn of events – they would have the chance to return to their youth and live the nomadic lifestyle they adore the most. But Elaine was terrified. They couldn’t just let dad go off while the rest of the family remained in one place – being separated from your loved ones even for 3 months is too long. So they would have to follow him everywhere he went.
Elaine remembers packing her bags, and just crying – she was leaving behind everything that she loved so much – her friends, grandparents, everything. But her mom has always known how to comfort her effectively: “Don’t cry sweetie,. You’ll get to see the whole country, and if you’re lucky even the whole world! Life will be so interesting, and we’ll always be together!” Her mom won her over, and off they went into the world.
They were in city #1. Elaine went to a new school; she tried to socialize with new people; found a couple of youth clubs to join and all in all managed to establish a sense of regularity to her life once more. But as soon as she started enjoying it – ta-daaam! They were on the move again. She found herself crying and packing her bags again.
Any child would find this lifestyle tough, let alone a home bird like Elaine. First she tried her best to adapt. Then, she was desperate to leave. Then she became passive, and at some point didn’t even bother to talk to people in the latest school she found herself in – they would be temporary friends for her anyway. Naturally, her grades went down. At some point, Elaine fell into a kind of depression, preferring to stay home and not talk to anyone. Funnily enough, her friends list on social media was overflowing while she in reality had no one to talk to. Each new request from her parents to pack the bags now made her obey passively, and there were no longer any tears. Her mom became worried, and asked what was going on.
Elaine had been keeping it all inside for far too long. She burst into tears and started shouting that she couldn’t handle being a nomad anymore, that she wanted to go to university but her grades were hopelessly low, that she didn’t have a single close friend to talk to and that generally, she was scared to get close to people because she knew in advance that leaving them would be painful. Her mom looked puzzled. Can you imagine that it didn’t even occur to her parents that she might be unhappy? But for Elaine, it was so freaking obvious.
That’s how her parents made the hard decision to send her back to her grandparents to allow her to improve her grades at school, regain her social life, and all in all calm down emotionally. After all, it’s way better this way for everyone, even if she misses them a lot. The only thing she regrets is that she didn’t speak up and express her true feelings earlier, because she lost 3 years to suffering when she could have just talked to her parents and found a compromise.
Music by Epidemic Sound: https://www.epidemicsound.com
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