Today we are officially one month away from our move. In 29 days everything we own will be packed into boxed and crates, then put on a truck and taken away. In 39 days we will board a plane and leave this beautiful island we have called home for 3 years, where both our girls were born, forever. In 60 days we will be in Oak Harbor, WA were we will find a new home and friends and opportunities.
Thinking about this gives me anxiety. Knowing all our belongings will be packed, inaccessible and on a ship for weeks makes my hands clammy. Thinking of the mountain of luggage (at least 4 bags, a double stroller, breast pump, diaper bag, backpacks and various pillows, toys and dollies) we will have to lug through 2 airports makes my stomach churn. But the #1 thing that I face everyday that breaks my heart and makes me want to hate this military life is trying to prepare our 2 year old for this huge life change.
I’m doing everything I can think of to make this exciting for her. We talk about flying on planes again and the family members we will see during our move. We tell her that we are getting a new, big car she can watch movies in and how we are going to go for a really big drive. We’ve discussed her new “big girl room” and that she can choose what color to paint it (blue, green and purple have all been mentioned). We’ve looked at pictures of Puget Sound and pointed out whales, eagles, mountains and forests.
No matter how much I do and how fun and exciting I try to make it sound, I’m still so afraid she’s going to hate it.
I know, I know. She’s only 2 and doesn’t have many friends here, but I know what it’s like to move around a lot when you’re young. I remember missing our old homes. I remember the first time I had my own room after my sister was born and our huge backyard in one house. I remember climbing trees and weathering a hurricane in a different house and the ugly red carpet and loosing one of my Jelly shoes in the mud in another house.
No matter how much we moved or how long we lived there, I always missed the old house. The smells and how my room was set up. I missed little niches in the yard and the memories tied to those physical locations.
I think this is one of the scariest things about being a parent in a military family. Like most parents, we want what’s best for our children, but we know that every few years we will have to uproot our lives and start again. We know what a toll this can take on our kids, but we have to do it anyway.
In the end, I know all I can really do is try to keep it fun, be understanding and pray this move goes as smoothly as possible. I know countless other families go through this same cycle and are not the first or the last do deal with this. I’m blessed to have family members and friends that have moved many times with young children who I turn to for advise.
For now, we will keep talking about how fun this experience will be. The pools we can swim in at the hotels and the big beds we get to sleep in. We will make sure we have our DVD collection- complete with Daniel Tiger, Frozen and The Minion Movie- to keep her entertained on our 4 day car trip. And above all, we will smile and make the best of everything, because that’s what parents do and that’s what she deserves.