‘Yay,’ says Charlotte. ‘We’re moving. Finally!’
Barry and Cheryl had just passed on the good news to their two children. After years of being cramped in a two-bedroom apartment—the only home Charlotte and her brother, Ollie, had ever known—they were moving house.
‘I know you’re excited,’ Cheryl says, smiling at Charlotte’s enthusiasm. ‘But moving home is a big job. We’ve got lots to do in the next month.’
Ollie’s head is down. Cheryl notices he’s frowning. ‘What’s wrong, Ollie?’
‘What about my friends. When will I see them?’
Barry walks to where Ollie sits and rubs his back. ‘Bud,’ he says. He pulls him in for a bear hug. ‘We’ll still be in the same suburb. We can still see your friends. You won’t need to change schools or anything.’
Ollie nods, but he still frowns.
‘What is it, Ollie?’ asks Cheryl.
‘Nothing. Doesn’t matter.’
Cheryl’s shoulders rise towards her ears. This brush-off always grinds. Both Ollie and Charlotte dismiss their parents with this statement too often and she’s never been able to find a way to make them see that everything matters to her.
‘OK.’ She lets it go for now. Takes a couple of calming deep breaths and releases the tension in her shoulders.
She smiles brightly. ‘Let’s make a plan for packing up, shall we?’
On a piece of paper, she draws four columns; assigns their names to a column each. After twenty minutes, Cheryl’s divided the tasks amongst them all.
‘This should be easy!’ Cheryl says. ‘We’ll be ready for the moving truck on the 22nd.’
Barry laughs. He slings his arm around Cheryl, ‘All going well, yes, we will be.’
‘What do you mean, Daddy?’ asks Charlotte. Her face is red and scrunched up.
‘Oh, honey, nothing to worry about. Just sometimes, packing a home can take a bit longer than planned. Things pop up.’
‘Does that mean we won’t be able to move into our new home?’
‘Oh no, honey. Nothing like that,’ Barry says. He moves from his place beside Ollie and crouches next to his daughter. ‘Just means we might have to ask for help from Granny and Pop. OK?’
‘No time like the present,’ Cheryl says. ‘After we’ve cleaned up the breakfast dishes, we’ll get started. Yes? Everyone excited?’
Charlotte squeals with delight, but Ollie mopes and sulks.
Cheryl decides the best course of action—for now—with Ollie is to ignore the grumpiness. He’ll come around. Especially when they move into their new two-storey home, and he gets to choose which cavernous space he’ll claim for his bedroom.
Everything will be just fine, she tells herself.