I got home from work last night and before my bag had hit the floor the kiddo was at my feet, pulling on my legs wanting answers.
Her face was stern, and her eyes intent and fixed on mine.
"Am I going to Lori's house?"
My mouth hung open. I stammered ... "What do you mean? Are your going to Lori's house? Do you mean right now? Tommorow?"
She shook her head violently and pulled harder on my pants' legs for emphasis.
"NO! NO! Am I going to Lori's house next year?"
I was afraid of this moment: The one in which I would have to tell her that she won't be seeing nearly as much of her beloved babysitter, the person she's spent three years of good times; that she will be going someplace else, some place - at least in my mind - not as ideal.
Since January, when I found out our child care situation would go through drastic change, I've thought of little else but this conversation - a conversation I thought I would have to initiate. A chat I had scheduled for sometime in early June. A talk that I envisioned would turn into hours of creative collaboration and culminate in a series of memory books for each of them -- Lori and Annabel -- to keep. In essence, a long coming to terms with life's curve balls.
But she preempted my plans.
"No, honey. You won't be going to Lori's next year. Next year you will be going to a bigger school."
"Oh good," she said happily, and she skipped away. "I can't wait to go to school."
Now I expect the grand meltdown will happen in ernest when she realizes she doesn't get to ride on a big yellow bus just yet.