This summer my family and I moved from Philadelphia to Atlanta. The move may have been our longest, but it wasn’t our first. I can remember the sheer panic that I felt when my daughter was little and we moved a few short miles away from the only home she had ever known. I asked myself all sorts of questions: how will she adjust, will our new place feel like home and should we send her with her grandparents or keep her with us while we move all the stuff?
In short: always send the kids with someone else while you move. I couldn’t imagine having a then five-year-old with us between dressers and mirrors and what felt like an avalanche of boxes. Of course it’s doable, but if you can heave-ho.
We made sure that the absolute first thing we did was get our daughter’s room setup: our friends went from moving furniture to dipping paint brushes in “Buzz Lightyear Blue” and rolling the stuff onto her bedroom walls. While it dried, all of us went about tending to the rest of the house. The next morning, and after the paint was dry, I hung clothes and pictures, arranged stuffed animals and pulled the sheets tight.
When our daughter pulled up with Grandmom, she was thrilled. A blue room with stars and her name on the wall in glittery purple letters? Oh yeah, she loved it.
It turns out that I had needlessly panicked.
After six years, another paint change and two furniture re-arrangements later, it was time for Atlanta. This move brought its own set of challenges; mainly the 16-hour drive. Ugh. But now our daughter was ten and really understood that moving meant a complete change: a new school, friends, house, and way of life. Despite knowing that my motherly panic was unnecessary before, I went ahead and did it all over again. How would she adjust? Would she want to go back “home?” What if she never made a friend? Would the kids be cruel to the new kid?
Of course she fit right in to her new way of life and she did it with fewer complaints than the bona fide adults she gets to call Mom and Dad. See we – that would be me and her father—took to complaining to each other about the food, our inability to find anything, and the unrealistic expectation that a bunch of magical fairies would come and remove all the boxes and put our things away while we slept. Our daughter took everything in stride and made the most out of our move while we spent our time getting familiar with a new zip code.
That’s the thing about our kids; they always surprise us even when we know they’re just wonderful, mini versions of the best we have to offer. Our daughter still hasn’t complained or looked back or second-guessed. Every morning she puts one foot in front of the other and rubs the sleep from her eyes while grasping for her favorite cereal; just like she did before. After she’s done and dressed, she walks out the door ready to conquer the best day ever.