53 days ago (Nov 18, 2017), I moved my three children ages four, four, and six, 5 states and 400 miles away from the home they were born and raised in to my home state.
The first thought for this move began in October 2016, and the house search began in February. After traveling back-and-forth about five times, and looking at 40 houses, we found land, and committed in July. I should clarify by saying that in June I had all but given up, and my dear dad found land and purchased it in the hopes that we would want it. The house was supposed to be a remodel that we built up, but it ended up being demolished, and when all is said and done, we will have a brand new house that I have picked out piece by piece and room by room.
If I thought the search for a home was the challenging part, I had no idea what was in store for us when we actually committed, and had to slowly let go of all the things we have known. My boys had to say goodbye to their second preschool (I had not enrolled them in their first year preschool because I thought we would be moving), and their beloved teachers and therapists and friends that they had grown to love in just two months. One of my twins had to say goodbye to the numerous therapists and specialists of all types that had been caring for him virtually since birth, and had grown to be part of the family. I had to say goodbye to my first beloved baby, my business, and leave all of my customers of up to 14 years behind. We had to say goodbye to our dear Home that I had lived in for seven years, and that knew my beloved dog prior to knowing my children. We had to say goodbye to all of our amazing and wonderful friends that had stuck by my side, and had been with us to laugh and cry and play and eat and swim. And hardest of all, we had to say goodbye to my coparent, our nanny of 4 1/2 years that became my kids bonus mom.
Coming to terms with the emotional aspect of leaving our home of 14 years, was just as demanding as the physical work required to make the move a possibility. The decluttering and organizing and donating and cleaning started four months prior to the actual move. There were areas of my basement that I didn’t know existed and boxes that I didn’t want to go through. All free time was spent making sure that only the necessities came with us on our move. 1900 square feet of space lived in by 4 people has quite a few necessities. There also was the tasks of finding storage once we arrived in our new state, and finding people to make the move for us. This was harder than it sounds.
When I realized that the house was not going to be ready as I expected it to be in the summer, I decided with my brothers suggestion, to send my daughter ahead of us to live with him and his wife. She was already registered for kindergarten in our new state, and I wanted her to begin with her class on time. We drove her there in September, and stayed a week getting her started at her new school. She thrived being with all of our family and not having to share.
Our last month I tried to see all those we cared about, and gift all those that have touched our lives, and visit all the places that I thought were important to my children, but it never felt sufficient or good enough. Every day in my home, every day at my office, and every night in my bed, I counted down the days until it would no longer be mine. I was more sad than excited most days. The anxiety was high, and every day I questioned whether I was doing the right thing. I lost sleep, but I was exhausted.
The movers took two full days to load everything I have collected over 14 years into 1-24 foot truck. The control freak in me had to let go of the fact that strangers were packing up all of my personal belongings and shoving them in boxes and containers as if they had no meaning whatsoever. The best part was when I came home from my last day at work preparing to see an empty house, all I saw was a full truck with my belongings scattered in every single room of our home. I had prepared to have a calm, relaxing evening on my last night that I would ever have in this home, and instead I was gathering and collecting all of my “unimportant” belongings that were left behind. The boys and I slept on the floor those last two nights, sleeping bag style.
Thank God for our amazing friends, who all gathered on our last day there, and helped me do everything, from purchasing storage bags, to packing them up, to getting me fed, to entertaining the kids, to cutting their hair, and loading up three carfulls of items that they would then store at their homes. (Thanks Lisa and family, Kristen and family, Sharon, T and P).
We packed up our SUV, Tetris-style, with all of our essentials that we would need for the next open-ended number of days, until our house was complete. We took off at dinner time, with many tears, hugs, and memories, and filled with excitement and fear about what lay ahead. There’s no place like home, right?