5:15 am, Wednesday morning, his acutely sensitive emotional radar in high gear apparently, Joseph said, “You’ve decided, haven’t you?”
I tried to put him off, to have a poker face and all that. This wasn’t the timing we were aiming for, before work and school at 5:15am. But he was right. Silas and I had decided. We had decided on moving to Fresno. Joseph wouldn’t back down. “Just tell me!” he kept demanding. So I had to.
I could see that he was about to jump on me, so I tried to put some humor into it. “Come beat me up!” I said. “Beat me up good!”
For the next 20 minutes we rolled around on the floor and he pounded me on the back with his fists and tried to put me in half-nelsons and pretended to choke me. All in good fun. Sort of. I drew the line with suffocating me with blankets, because I have claustrophobia. Then he dumped over some laundry detergent, threw a few pillows and kleenex boxes, and then cried. Then he announced, “I’m just not going to think about it.” I guess that’s three of the stages of grief, at least.
Peter announced, from the couch, “The education system in California is bad,” and that was really all he had to say about it.
We had gotten Joseph an early Christmas present that we were planning to give him on Saturday morning, to buffer the grief. So I gave it to him after our wrestling match. He was pretty happy about that, in combination with his decision not to think about the other thing.
But it’s going to come in waves, I know. Waves of grief. Maybe even waves of anticipation and excitement. But the waters are going to be choppy. My heart aches for him. And for us. We’re going through waves of our own. There’s a lot we are sad to leave in Portland. There’s a lot we fear about the whole process. There’s a lot we hope to gain back in Fresno. Will it all work out?