There’s nothing harder than picking up the life you’ve grown accustomed to and moving on. There’s also nothing more exciting. I was forced to do this almost twenty years ago as a college student after losing everything I owned in an apartment fire.
And I’ve done it again as a husband and father with three kids in tow.
About six years ago, my wife and I packed up two young kids (including one 8-week-old newborn) and the family dog and journeyed back east in a small SUV from California to Maryland so she could start a new job.
Just this past month, as many of you are already aware, Jen and I once again packed up everything we own, our kids (now we’re up to 3!), the same family dog and the fish and frog and traveled south to the inlets and bay lined neighborhoods of coastal Virginia.
It’s truly a wonderful area and that part makes it a little more comforting. The salty smell of the bay, fresh crabs and the beach.
It probably sounds pretty sweet, however there’s a lot that goes into a move of this size. Not only do you have to worry about the pain-staking task of watching 730 items get loaded onto a truck…
…but you’ve also got the logistics of switching utilities, making sure everyone has their special stuffed animals and blankies and where you’ll all sleep until everything makes its way into your new home.
It’s a massive amount of stress on parents, but also on the kids.
I’ve learned how to cope with having to leave certain friends behind, knowing that I might never see them again unless they show up in my Facebook news feed – but my kids aren’t online yet and for them, it’s heartbreaking to watch them say good-bye to someone they’ve created memories with, no matter how inconsequential it might be in the grand scheme of things.
We’ve already noticed a slight change in some of their attitudes or behavior and I’m positive it’s a direct result of the transition, it’s their only way of coping.
We’re doing our best to acclimate them to their new neighborhood. We’ve taken them to nearby Virginia Beach with their cousins and had both of our parents visit to help everything seem more familiar.
We’ve already made new friends in the neighborhood and these families have gone out of their way to include us in local events, add me to the mom’s coffee group and meet up at the community pool so the kids will get to play with others their own age.
We’ve driven them by their new school’s and explored some local restaurants and already found their favorite doughnut shop where they can watch the Chef Kirk make the ‘squealer’, covered in maple glaze dipped in bacon pieces.
All that’s left is to finish decorating their rooms and give them their own special little space to feel at home.
I know that only time will help with the transition and #HowWeFamily is the best cure at the moment, but I’m curious how other families might handle a similar life event.
Have you ever had to pick up and move with young children? What advice might you have to offer on making it easier on them?