June 25, 2005

He Just Couldn't Bounce Back

I've just returned from a round-trip drive to Brooklyn, and I'm pretty sad about it. Terri drove up to Brooklyn last night to scoop up F, the boy who spent two weeks with us last summer as a part of the Fresh Air Fund's program to give city kids a chance to have a real country vacation. He is a great kid, loves animals and bridges, and was a complete sweetie with Mr. D.

Something was different this year. We're not sure why, but F's homesickness, present but manageable last year, was absolutely paralyzing this year. I honestly think that part of it was that he'd never heard of Delaware before and was afraid to go someplace that was completely off his mental map. We might as well have invited him to a week at the beach in Albania. He talked a good game while he was still at home, bragging to his friends about the upcoming trip, but cried the whole way to our house, then cried himself to sleep and was barely functioning this morning.

Little Mr. D was the only one who could manage to get him to interact positively, and even that only lasted for a few minutes at a time. This morning, when a visibly despondent F wouldn't eat and talked about hurting himself, Terri and I looked at each other and called his mother. As soon as he got in the car with me and we headed north towards his home, he magically turned back into the F we all fell in love with last summer.

We're all disappointed, Mr. D most of all. But it was definitely the right decision. And we WILL get to the beach today, come hell or high water.

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