Moving homes are pretty high on the stress-o meter… add young kids to the mix and you’ll discover whole new teeth-grinding, hair-falling, head-aching levels of stress!
Our summer was consumed by wrapping, packing, and weeding out the vast amount of stuff we’ve collected over the past 9 years – most of which we accumulated since having kids. And while this “Type-A” dad doesn’t mind organizing and achieving new heights in meticulous packing rituals, the most challenging part of moving is what to do with the kids.
We tried to keep the kids busy with summer camps, playdates, visits to family, and yes, a lot more screen time than I care to admit. We tried engaging them in helping us pack their toys – a task that their limited attention span made impossible. In the end, the only success and the most progress came when the kids were shipped off to grandma’s and to my aunt’s house. It wasn’t until we were kid-free for a week that we were finally able to finish packing, organizing, and tying up all the loose ends that come with moving to a new home.
Just a couple of days into being kid-free, I found myself completely engrossed in the deed, drowned in cardboard boxes and bubble wrap, unbathed and unshaven (did I even have lunch today?). And then it hit me: we’re moving out of our first home together.
Having no time to process the whole ordeal, I finally realized we were closing a magnificent chapter in our family history. This was the first home we purchased as a couple. We transformed this place into a home with a garden, a new deck, and a kitchen reno. These walls witnessed our marriage, our struggles, and many gatherings of friends and family. But the richest memories of our home include our kids. This was the home our boys came into, where we shared their first steps, first words, and first laughs together. Here we shared first birthdays, Christmas mornings, knee scrapes, pizza nights, new friendships, superhero movies, and many sibling squabbles. We truly enjoyed and loved this home and as my watery eyes came back into focus, the moving stress didn’t bother me as much.
The rest of the move had its hiccups but I now felt a bit more resilient and able to adapt as we rolled with the punches. I began to feel more excited for the next big chapter in our lives. We are now two weeks into the new house and while I fully understand that it’s the family (not the structure) that make the home, it wasn’t until our 2-year-old walked into the new house yesterday and declared “I’m home!” that it felt absolutely perfect.
As appeared Frankly Fatherhood column of the October 2018 issue of Mom & Caregiver Magazine
Frank Emanuele DCL Director