the end of last year my family moved. This was not a small move like buying a
bigger house across town. No, we moved clear across the country.
trading in our West Coast lives for the East Coast. It was a scary prospect. We were
leaving the only home my sons knew. This was the first house my husband and I
had ever bought. I'd brought each of my boys to this home from the hospital
after they were born. They took their first steps there, terrorized the cat there and practiced their soccer skills with the kids behind us. We had great friends
who had become our extended family over the years—all of it, we would be leaving
It was not an easy decision, but it was the right one for our family in
the long run. The short-term would be more difficult to swallow, especially for
oldest had a lot of questions. His 2-year-old brother wasn't really sure what
was going on. He just knew a lot of boxes were involved, and we were going to be
closer to his grandparents and cousins soon. Everyday it seemed my oldest had
new questions. I tried to answer them as best I could.
Moving, no matter how near or far, is never easy for anyone in the family. But sometimes it does feel like it is harder on our kids.
Some were the usual ones
that you would expect: How will our stuff get there?
I had to get creative, though, with the other questions that were a bit more out there. I didn't want to lie to my son, but I wanted to reassure him.
Where will we live?
Is our house coming too?
The tricky part about our move was that we were selling our
house on the West Coast while looking for a new house on the East Coast. We
would stay with my brother-in-law while this all happened, since my husband had
to start his new job as soon as we arrived. The boys were
thrilled to be living with their cousins for a while, but the idea of never
sleeping in their first home again baffled them.
I approached our move like an incredible adventure. We would
get to pick out a brand new house. The boys would be with me as we checked out
houses on the market, and they would definitely have a say in the new house we
got. My oldest quickly declared that he wanted an upstairs and a downstairs (we
had lived in a ranch-style home out west). He also wanted his own
room. He was tired of sharing with his brother.
In the end, after looking at
many, many houses, he got exactly what he wanted and even a few extras. We
found a quiet street in a great neighborhood with a whole lot of kids for him
to play with every day.
Can my animals come
He wasn't worried about the cat. No. He knew that was taken
care of. What he wanted to know was how he would get his bazillion stuffed
animals to our new home. We have a rule when we travel that he can only bring
two small stuffed animals. He knew the same applied when we were driving cross-country
as part of our move. But what about all the critters he couldn't bring in the
The day before the movers came, he helped me box them up. We chatted with
the animals to tell them what was happening, and his favorite tiger, Joe, would
be in charge of everyone in the box until they made it safely to our new house.
My guilt was big, since I knew my son wouldn't see his animals for at least a
month while they sat in storage and we looked for a new house to buy. This
guilt lead to seven (yes, seven!) more creature friends being added to our
family as we drove across the country through state and national parks and
hit various attractions along the way.
But what about my
This was the hardest one of all. By age 5, my oldest had
found his best friend. This was his buddy. We had playdates at least twice a
week, usually more. He knew that no matter what, he had one friend in this
world whom he could play with and count on to be his best bud. Even worse, I
was very good friends with his mom, so leaving behind his best friend was a
double whammy for both of us.
I didn't want to lie to my son, but I wanted to reassure him.
I didn't know how to get past this one. I
promised to let him Skype whenever we could. The time change has
made it hard with both of their school schedules though. One thing I could
assure him about was that he was going to a new school and would make new
friends. This opened up a whole new line of questioning.
What if the kids at
school don't like me?
My son has some awesome curls. I mean truly incredible,
crazy hair. When he threw this question at me in the car one afternoon, after
preschool pick-up, I had to stop the car. I turned to him and told him this: "You
have amazing hair honey. It is super cool and crazy. The kids are going to be
lining up to meet you."
Now, this does sound superficial, and it is. My son also has
one of the most kind and pure hearts I have ever met. I tell him this often.
His self-esteem is definitely intact. I could have babbled on about what a
great kid he was, and how fun he was to play with. I tried this tactic first,
but it didn't get me anywhere. Once I zeroed in on the one thing that really
made him stand out in a crowd, he began to believe it was all going to be OK.
After all, what kid wouldn't want to know the fun boy with the crazy awesome
Our move was successful and we are slowly settling into
life. My sons have both found new friends to play with, but we still miss the
ones back on the West Coast. Moving, no matter how near or far, is never easy
for anyone in the family. But sometimes it does feel like it is harder on our
We as moms don't always take the time to remember this, since we are
rushing around trying to pack up the house and get everything squared away.
Make the time to talk to your kids as you make major life transitions. It will
really help everyone in the long run if you do.