River has been a regular and most welcome blog commenter and I've had the privilege of meeting her in person a few times. She is warm, gorgeous, kind and the kind of mother and grandmother we'd all be thrilled to have in our lives.
I saw her the other morning power walking to the supermarket as I was running down Magill Road, trying to convince myself that street running - with car fumes, the occasional rude 'call out' from fat mini-van drivers and dangerously trippy tree roots - was better than my treadmill.
"RIVER! Hey, River!" We had a chat, me wiping sweat from my brow onto the bottom of my t-shirt and she asking me about how Sapphire was coping with the move. "I'd like to send her an email, just for her," she said.
And she did just that, except now I want to share it with you all. You truly rock, River!
Dear Sapphire, you're moving soon.
Moving is hard, saying goodbye to home, school, friends, more so when you've been there for so long.
You watch all your things being packed away into boxes, the furniture gets loaded into a huge truck, you wonder if you'll ever see your stuff again. You will.
You'll have tearful hugs with your friends, and promise to remember them forever. You will. Do you have photos of your friends? Have each friend write a message on the back of their picture, something that you won't read until you are in your new home.
You'll walk around inside your empty house and hear the echoing footsteps you make. Take a little time to remember the happiest moments you spent in each room. Take photos if you can, of the boxes piled up ready for the truck, of the empty rooms and how the sunlight looks different now that there is no furniture. Stand a while in your most favourite spot and say goodbye, crying a little is okay too. It's a big moment.
The new house at first will be strange, walk through the empty rooms if you can, and notice that all empty houses don't sound alike. Find out the quickest way to get to the toilet, very important.
Find your new room and stand there, just feeling it. Picture where you'd like your bed to be. Which wall will hold your favourite posters. Look out of the window and wonder if there are any kids of your age in the near neighbourhood.
The fun starts when the truck arrives, (maybe it's there before you, waiting) you watch furniture being unloaded, you spot things that are yours and know that your treasures have arrived safely. Do you rush to open the boxes? Do you wait until your bed is in place? Waiting to unpack is always hard for me, I don't know about you. (One of my daughters always wanted everything back the way it was as soon as possible. The books in the shelf and on the lefthand side of the bed. The toy box under the window so that she could sit on it to look outside on rainy days.)
At first it may be hard to decide where things will go, the room may be shaped differently, you might wander outside to think a bit, cry a bit, wish you were back home again. But the new house will soon feel like home, every time you come and go, from shopping, school, playground, it will be easier to think of this new house as home. Tables and couches will get settled into their new positions, all of your books and toys, your guitar and beanie babies will be there to welcome you home just like they always have.
Having breakfast with mum and dad will be the same, Weetbix tastes the same in Melbourne as it does in Adelaide. You're sure to find friends quickly, one of the best ways is to find the nearest McDonalds and go there for lunch in the first day or two when you are all fed up with unpacking stuff.
By the time school starts again you'll have friends who are going to the same school and who were there the year before so they can show you around. Then you'll bring friends home, bring them to your kitchen for snacks, sit on your bed and giggle about stuff that happened that day, you'll be making wonderful new memories here, and you'll realise that you're just as happy as you were here in Adelaide.
You'll smile at your mum, she'll smile back, and you'll realise that as long as you three are together any house you live in will be home. Think of the fun you'll have telling your new friends all about your old friends, think about phoning or emailing grandpa and telling him how funny skipper was hopping all over the new house, how funny Milly was trying to sniff everything at once in her excitement.
A move is not such a bad thing after all. And Melbourne is a nice place to be. I've lived there twice.