I’ve moved several times in my life, but
this is the first time I’m moving with my children.
My husband and I are thrilled to have
found our dream home and to be relocating to an area that is a better match for
our family, but I know this is a profound change for all of us, including our
kids. This move has been over a year in the making, and as we get closer to our
moving day (next month!) it is consuming much of my energy. It’s easy to get
distracted by the very practical and necessary to-do lists of a big move and
forget the emotions. But I have two young kids to remind me the emotional part
is just as big and important as mortgages and closing dates.
How do I navigate my own mixed emotions
while also helping my kids say goodbye to the only home they’ve ever known?
Here are the things that are working for us:
We’ve been talking to the kids about this
move for nearly as long as we’ve been talking about it to each other. And now
that it’s a done deal—a house found, our house sold—we keep talking about it.
Every day, there are conversations about what we’ll miss (the trees in the backyard,
our next door neighbors) and how they want to decorate their rooms ("Star
Wars" and "Avengers"). Talking about it helps make it real.
Maybe all of these things I’m doing allow me to mourn the
home where my children took their first steps and babbled their first words.
2. We show them the house.
We took them to see our new house on the
day of the home inspection and had a picnic on the floor. I have over a 150
pictures on my phone so I can show them everything from the windows in their
bedrooms to the view from the back deck. They ask to see the house, and I
oblige, as hungry as they are to know what our new life will be like.
“What do you want to take to the new
house? What should we give away? How many boxes do you think we’ll need to pack
up all of your stuff?” Their answers are typical for 4- and 6-year-old little
boys, but like other big events in a young child’s life, it’s important for
them to feel like they are a part of the moving process and that it isn’t just
happening to them.
4. We’re doing all their favorite things
before we move.
Cookouts with friends, visits to the park
and the zoo and their favorite ice cream place—the move coincides with the end
of the school year, so in between cleaning out closets and packing boxes, we’re
getting in one (or two) more trips to favorite places and visits with favorite
5. When we can, we’re doing things in our
Our new home is two hours away, so when
we’ve been in town for things related to the house buying process, we’ve added
a few things with the kids in mind. We took them by the elementary school
they’ll be attending in the fall, visited a popular local doughnut shop and
spent an afternoon at the city’s science museum. The boys are nervous about
leaving their favorite places here, but they’re discovering that a new house
also means new adventures.
6. We’re taking our time.
Our move won’t happen in one day. We’ve
arranged it so that our move will be done over three weekends. So we’ll close
on our new house at the end of the month, and move as much of the
non-essentials as possible over Memorial Day weekend, but then we’ll have until
mid-June to get completely moved in. It will allow them to finish out the
school year as well as visit their new house with some of our stuff in it (and
have a few more picnics on the floor) before we move all of their
furniture and toys. It might be hard, having one foot in the old house and one
foot in the new, but my hope is that by easing them from one house to the next,
they’ll feel like our new home is their home by the time we are unpacking the
I have plans for craft projects involving
tree branches from our yard and the door of their fort. We have thousands of
pictures and a few favorites from the house will be printed and framed, as well
as made into collages by the kids. I’ve asked them if there is anything from
here they want to take with us and my older son is adamant about preserving his
art work that is currently taped to his bedroom walls, so I’ll be buying poster
board soon to move his art to a safe place. My younger son wants to bring some
plants from our yard—and thankfully most of them are already in pots, though
I’m not above digging up a favorite flower from the garden if that’s what he
Sometimes, I feel like I’m overthinking
the whole process and that moving will be harder on me than it will be on my
kids. Maybe all of these things I’m doing allow me to mourn the home where my
children took their first steps and babbled their first words. Maybe my
attempts to make the move easier on my kids is really an attempt to make the
move easier on me. And maybe that’s OK.