Kids, we are packing up!
Moving brings a lot of emotion. There's excitement - purging the house of the old junk in the basement! New living quarters! A fresh start! There's nervousness - I won't know anyone. What if we don't like where we are living? There's sadness, joy, just so much emotion.
A change in job led our family of four to move from suburbia Maine to New York City. I left my job, we said goodbye to family and friends, sold our house and moved within a matter of six weeks.
Overwhelmed was the first emotion I held. Our boys at the time were seven months and 2.5 years old. For our infant, we knew it was all going to be ok - he wouldn't know any different! Beyond some extra snuggles, we knew he would adjust. But for our toddler, we knew it was going to be a more difficult transition and that an explanation would be necessary.
We were leaving behind a three-story home. We were leaving behind our neighborhood and his friends and teachers at school. We were going to be asking him to move into an apartment roughly a third of the size of our last home, with no backyard, an elevator and on top of it all, he would be sharing a room with his younger brother and we wouldn't be able to take our dog. Talk about game changer!
I kept it straightforward and focused on the future, not the current state of mayhem with moving boxes scattered around. "We are moving to the big city!" I told our toddler. "We will see Daddy more and have a new house!" It become fun and exciting.
As soon as we arrived in our apartment in the City, we set up the boys room. They were now sharing a room, so we set the stage for comfort - belongings from both their old rooms. A rug they played on frequently at the old house, our baby's crib, our toddlers twin bed, lots of stuffed animals, their favorite blankies, and photos around the room. We made sure they knew this was THEIR room and while the rest of the house was covered in unpacked boxes, at least they had their quiet sanctuary (with the sound machine cranked as loud as it will go - city noises are no joke!).
We downsized their toy stash - some may say we still have too many, and we probably do, but we took the toys the boys had from three floors and a packed garage and brought it down to what we know they will use and love. Yes we miss the riding car and kitchen set, not to mention the sliding glass door we had with immediate access to the backyard. BUT, I am reminded daily of the simple pleasures our new life is bringing us (for starters, having my husband at home and not always traveling!).
We have frequent check-ins. My now one year old doesn't remember life before sirens blaring and walks in the stroller whether it's rain, snow or blaring sun. He doesn't recall a time when the car was parked in the garage and trips in and out of the car seat were the norm. But my now three year old does. He remembers when we had a backyard, gets excited now when we go for "car rides" and still talks about our dog. Every. Single. Day.
We've settled into our new life as city dwellers and it's been eight months. According to my son this is not our home but a tower in the big city. Just yesterday he brought me to tears asking me when we would be going "home." He tells us what he misses (space, our dog, stroller outings) and we know other things he misses (bugs, dirt, quietness, structure of daycare - I decided not to go back to work). And while we might not ever become city people, the lessons in life that the four of us have learned in the past couple months have been irreplaceable. The adventures we have had here have been unforgettable and the opportunity this City has given us is indescribable.
Moving is an adventure for everyone in the family. And we all interpret the change in unique ways. But what has been the most impactful for me, is how through this move we became a stronger and tighter family... I'm also amazed at the memory of a toddler!
Wife and mother of two boys, Joanne recently moved from suburbia Maine to Manhattan - quite the change of pace and trade of lifestyle! Navigating her way in New York City has provided lots of laughter, tears and confusion for the whole family, but Joanne takes it all in stride and aims to keep the family chaos to a minimum. She loves to spend her days at the park, savors every date night, enjoys time in the kitchen and out shopping, and possibly spends too much time on Pinterest... Follow Joanne on Instagram @jtolford