My sister and brother-in-law are moving to Montreal tomorrow. It hasn't sunk in yet. After living in the same city them for the last two years it will be a shock to not be able to pick up the phone and ask them over for dinner. Or place an emergency call to her to ask her come over and watch my children while I hide in the bedroom and cry. Luckily that has only happened once. But still, that will be harder to do once she is two hours away.
Today they stopped by with their moving van to load up a bunch of things we had been storing for them in our basement. The girl sat on a chair I placed in the dining room doorway so that she could watch as they carried boxes out of the basement. She held her stuffed cat Princie (named after my dad's real cat) and chatted to my sister as she passed by.
The girl has always called my sister by a nickname that she gave her. From the beginning the girl had trouble pronouncing my sister's actual name so instead she called her Daka. Daka, Daka, Daka. Today she sometimes called her Daka, sometimes by her real name. I wondered if this would be the end of the special nickname. Will the girl grow out of it? Will she forget about it as she uses it less, as she sees my sister less often? Hearing the girl struggling but persisting to enunciate my sister's name today I was a bit saddened. I want that special bond between them to stay.
The girl was not quite one when they moved to Ottawa. Right away she took to my sister. At the girl's first birthday party she spent most of the time on my sister's lap in the sunroom. They and my brother-in-law hid away from the party and were happy.
After the boy was born my sister came over two mornings a week to spend time with the girl. She had some free time among her University class schedule and I so appreciated the help, especially in those early months. More than the benefit to me, though, was what the girl got out of it. She so loved to see her aunt. The girl would get excited, ecstatic as soon as my sister would walk into the house. If she had been sitting quietly before her aunt's arrival, she would suddenly be running around and jumping on the couch she was so happy. All those hours they spent together over the fall and winter have created a deep bond between them. I can see it. I can feel it when they are together.
The girl has always gone happily to my sister. They would cuddle and wrestle and read books together. On the couch, on the floor, in the girl's bed. The hugs and kisses have lessened a bit now that the girl hates to say goodbye or goodnight. Instead the girl will frown and refuse to dispense a hug or kiss when asked. She will run away or stomp up to bed.
Maybe the girl knew something was changing today. We have talked about my sister and brother-in-law moving away and what that means, but I didn't really think she grasped the consequences of it all. Before they drove away from our house we all stood on the front sidewalk and said our goodbyes. It didn't seem real to me and it still doesn't. I am sure it will hit me in a few weeks and then I will be calling my sister asking her if she can come for a visit.
We asked the girl if she wanted to give my sister a hug. She said no. Then she ran to my sister and was swept up into her arms.