That’s right. We live in the future, where keeping in touch with Germany is so much easier than it was during my own childhood. It’s hardly like saying good-bye at all.
Except that it is. Having her friend in her class meant they spent six hours a day together whether they liked it or not. Effortlessly. Every game, every lesson, every life event happened right there, together. Keeping in touch via Skype is certainly possible, but I know from painful experience that it’s not a replacement for having your best friend live in your neighborhood.
So. Even though we live in the future and there are no real good-byes, this still feels like a big change. One that warrants a lot of care and attention.
Of all the ideas on how to keep in touch, the one that struck the strongest chord with me and Rio was a suggestion to give her friend a stationary set with preaddressed envelopes, so that they can be old-fashioned penpals. We went to the craft store and bought two boxes of sturdy cards in simple colors: one to give her friend, and one to keep for mailing letters to Germany ourselves. Rio picked these because they had the most cards per box. Sensible girl, she’d rather have more letters than prettier ones.
Once we got them home, she diligently addressed 25 purple envelopes with her home address. We hunted down some German stamps to include in the box, to get her friend started with the postage.
Then we said good-bye. I won’t pretend the day was easy. The girls played together for the morning, almost right up until she had to go to the airport. The couple of hours after she left were marked by screaming and tantrums and a profound insistence that Nothing Was Wrong. The whole week has been kind of like that: a lot of attitude and tears and not wanting to talk about things.
But! But! We came home to a one of Rio’s painstakingly self-addressed envelopes sitting in our mail with a letter from her German friend in it. That trick totally worked. Thank you, readers!