The first time we moved, I stood paralyzed in the packing aisle. What kind of tape should I use? How many boxes do I need? And what size? It wasn’t enough that my heart twisted with emotions, but now my brain was at a loss for a starting point. Since that first U-Haul pulled up to my house, I have loaded ten more trucks over the course of 16 years and traveled to 11 different states. Believe me, in a packing tape duel, you’d be boxed and shipped before you even noticed.
While my brain learned to shift automatically into moving mode, my heart follows a little more slowly. Change has both practical and emotional challenges. As my family prepares for another move in the next few weeks, I have reflected on the lessons learned through change. So how do you deal with change? While the application is through the lens of moving, the heart of it is relevant to any change in life. Here’s what I’ve learned…
Change is weird, but it’s normal. Try to keep things as ordinary as possible. This is not the time to add a puppy to the family, develop a new family schedule, or plan to redecorate the new house. Pretty new things are nice, but it’s just one more change for the family. Keep their rooms the same, with familiar objects nearby. Moving is expensive so tuck extra money away for an emergency. Trust me; something is going to happen. Twice we’ve had a tire blow on our trailer as we journeyed across the country. Then there was the time we drove through a hurricane, couldn’t see the road signs, missed our exit, and needed an unplanned tank of gas.
Change is good, let yourself grow. As a mom, you have the opportunity to stretch not just yourself but your kiddos as well. Moving is a great time to downscale and get rid of that box in the attic. Pass this idea of simplifying down to the kids. When my boys were younger and struggled with letting go, we’d play a game. I would give them their toys to hold and then ask them to take my hand. Of course, their small hands were too full to grab my mine. I would have them place the toys in the donate box and then try to grab my hand. Their hands were now free for new adventures. And that is what I would tell them; if they hold too tightly to the old, there’s no room for the new.
This concept transferred directly to their sweet hearts and mine as well. It helps the excitement of new opportunities not to be overshadowed by the sorrow of what we leave behind or the fear of the unknown.
Change is hard, give yourself room to grieve. Leaving loved ones and moving to a new place is lonely. It takes me 8 to 12 months to process all that I am feeling, accept where I am, and begin to thrive in my new surroundings. You would think it would get easier with time, but the journey actually gets harder. It might take me longer to recover each time, but when I do, I come out on the other side stronger than ever.
Change takes time, give yourself grace. I might be moving along with my day, intent on discovering my new neighborhood when something little pushes me to the edge causing a meltdown. Whether they are tears of frustration or sorrow, it can leave my entire family bewildered and asking, “What do we do with mommy now?” Sometimes they’re the ones with the meltdown.
Stop and evaluate. Is there a reason behind the angst or is it just your inability to process all that your hearts and minds are going through? Deep breath. Pull them in for a hug and let grace wrap around you to heal the moment.
Finally, just know you’ll run out of tape, shed more than a few tears and just when you think the truck is full, you’ll find one more thing to box up.
Take heart; you are brave. Though weary; you are strong.
And next time we face each other, packing tape guns in hand, I bet you’ll win.