Relocating with Kids
Mom and Dad talk for months and months. Do we move or do we stay? Finally, a consensus, we move. heavy sigh. I decided to involve my children in discussions about our cross country move – even before a decision had been made.
There is so much anxiety about a such a major life change that it’s natural to think that the children will feel the same way. For our family, I found that I didn’t need to give them the right answers, I simply needed to listen to their questions and answer as best as I could. They also needed to know that whatever happened, we would still all be together, wherever it was.
Sometimes families don’t have a choice about when to move. We were fortunate with our timing so we moved the summer before our oldest was to start middle school; our youngest was to enter 4th grade. Immersion into new schools at those grade levels was a breeze. Of course, I worried that my daughter would get sucked into the social dramas that play out in adolescence – but without the benefit of elementary school comrades. How would she weather this huge unknown? Once we got to our new home town I decided to be proactive.
For my middle schooler, I planned a Halloween Party and invited EVERYONE from her homeroom class. No playing favorites allowed. I think about 12 kids came – in costume. It was great for me too, because I got to meet parents and see who actually brought their child to the front door, and who dropped them off at the curb (at someone’s house whom they had never met).
For my 4th grader, I agreed to become the Room Mom since no one else volunteered to do it. Let the new mom do it! This was great too because when he was invited to someone’s house to … I guess it’s still “play” in 4th grade … I already knew who the child was from organizing classroom parties and events.
Overall, the best feat was to create enthusiasm for my kids’ benefit even though I was not at all enthusiastic about relocating. And before we left, I gave each of their best friends a prepaid phone card to call any time (so their mom and dad wouldn’t have to pay for the long distance phone charges). For me, it felt like I was being torn from my mother’s womb. Too dramatic you think? OK, how about – it felt like losing my best friend. Hmm, that’s pretty bad too. Well, you get the point. It was hard. But, I survived, thrived, and am glad for the “adventure”. The kids are too.