‘This is my home, I don’t want to leave’

Watseka, CA–The other day my wife handed me a note that was in our mailbox that said that someone was interested in buying our home and asked us to call the real estate agent for an offer. Moving is the last thing we feel like doing right now, but my wife and I discussed how much it would take for it to be worth it. My nine-year-old daughter, normally a very happy little girl, listened to this for a minute or two and then burst out crying.
She kept saying, “This is my home, I don’t want to leave.” She loves our house, but obviously it symbolizes far more for her–her happy family, her happy life, her comfort and protection, her home. I hadn’t seen her so distraught in quite a while. I took the letter away from my wife, handed it to my daughter and said “Here, tear it up and throw it in the trash, we’re not moving anywhere.” She did it, and then sat in my arms and sobbed for another five minutes. I’m certainly not going to say that the average kid is going to react like this–families move all the time and it’s no big deal. Still, I couldn’t help but wondering if she and other kids like her react like this to a comparatively minor change, how would they react to a divorce? And how traumatic is it for the average nine-year-old to have his or her home torn apart by a divorce? Everybody always says, “Oh, kids are resilient, they’ll get over it.” Maybe, or maybe not.

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