**To read this Flashback Series, click the link at the top of the page**

During her 8th grade year everything stayed pretty much the same. She had a wonderful and solid group of friends that she adored. Her family was settled into the divorced life. She loved living in town and having the freedom that provided. School was always easy and not a big deal. Life was good.

She and her friends enjoyed having slumber parties and sleepovers, going to dances and roller skating parties, swimming, playing sports and just hanging out. She just loved her friends.

In the spring, her school always held a spelling bee. She had won the little 4th grade one, had placed 2nd in the 5th grade, won in 6th grade and placed 2nd in 7th grade. It was time for her final performance in the spelling bee. For whatever reason, this was a huge deal to her father. He would study for hours with her, get super angry when she couldn’t spell words, but was so very proud when she won. She really wanted to win this year and participate in districts. If she won districts, she would go to the state. That would be out of this world!

The day of the bee came and she did well. It was getting towards the end and she was given the world “wheelchair”. She was elated. That word she could spell in her sleep. She quickly said “w-h-e-e-l-c-h-a-i-r” and smiled.

The judges said “Incorrect!”

What? That’s how you spell it! What happened? The teacher judge told her after that she hadn’t said the “a” after the “h” but everyone else said she did. It seemed as though she said it too fast and they missed it. There was nothing she could do.

Devastated over having to go home and tell her Dad that she misspelled “wheelchair” for goodness sakes, she bawled. Right then and there in front of everyone in the whole middle school. She was so embarrassed. Even some of her teachers came up to her and said they heard the “a”. It made her feel a little better, but she still didn’t win. She wouldn’t be going to districts. She was done.

Her Dad was upset but wasn’t as mad as she thought he would be. But she could tell he was disappointed and that was worse. So much worse.

One sunny, spring day her Mom came home from work and asked to talk with her and her sister. They sat on the small steps outside their backdoor. Her Mom asked if they would mind moving to Ohio. Mom wanted to be closer to her job (which was there, about 30 minutes away) and closer to her boyfriend. Mom assured them that they would not move unless it was ok with both of them.

They said it was fine. The thought of moving terrified her greatly, but she knew it would be better for her Mom. She would miss her friends the most. They had been her best buddies since Kindergarten. She was just starting to enjoy the freedom of being able to see them whenever she wanted. Now, she would be 30 minutes away without a driver’s license. Even if they stayed in touch through letters and phone calls, how often would she see them? That scared her.

She would also be moving from a very, very small town to a rather large one by comparison. Her class would have almost 300 students! How would she make friends? What if she didn’t make any friends? What if she didn’t like her new house? Neighborhood? It was very overwhelming and scary.

But kind of exciting.


4 responses to “Leaving

  1. I hate that I have fallen so behind in your Flashback Series. Week after week I keep hoping to find the time to go back and read from where I last left off but I never find that opportunity. So instead of falling more behind I jumped in and ready today’s.

    I switched schools when I was 13 years old. I went from small school to small school in a nearby town. That felt tough and scary. Your fears must have been so much larger!!

  2. We moved to a new city/new school when I was 14 and again when I was 15 and again when I was 16. Each time I was terrified. Each time I was certain I’d be an outcast. Somehow I survived that. I’m so glad that you did too.
    My heart broke for you with the spelling bee. Even I could hear you say the “a”!!!

  3. Woah, losing that way would have to hurt.

  4. We moved from southern CA to northern CA when I was in the 7th grade and it was totally terrifying, but looking back it ended up being a great change for our family and I am so glad that it happened. I actually use this memory to help deal with Lily’s diagnosis. When we found out about CDC, I couldn’t possibly understand how this change could be a good thing for us, but then I remember that I thought the same thing in 7th grade and it turned out to be a blessing, so maybe Lily having CDC could also be a blessing that I could not possibly see at this moment.

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