What’s that you say? You’re moving?
It’s going to be ok.
No, no, really, you have to trust me.
I know, I know–it’s an upheaval, an emotional train-wreck, a logistical, never-ending list of things to get done, each one dependent upon the one above.
It’s ok. You’re going to be just fine.
Even if the whole thing’s a bloody nightmare–though to be fair, it probably just seems like one right now because it’s all a-tumble and a-jumble and topsy-turvy–like when you get caught in the surf and it’s so murky inside you can’t tell which end is up and which is down–even if all of that? It’s going to be just fine.
Right now it might feel like some great, gobbling beastie has burst into your bedroom and ripped the covers off, but in the end? You’re going to be okay.
So what if the school is old and the hallways smell like old gym socks or the teachers don’t seem so nice at first? So what if the pipes in your new house moan like old men and the floors howl like ghosts! You’ll get there, you’ll figure it out.
Maybe your kids are sad. It’s normal to be sad- leaving is hard– and it’s normal not to be sad. It’s all normal because there IS no normal when it comes to all of this, we’re all just making it up as we go along.
There’s no right way or wrong way. What’s right for one is wrong for another and falls squarely into “I’ll never do that again” category for someone else. And whatever you choose? It’ll end up ok.
You can move the goods before the kids or the kids before the goods. You can move the end of term or the beginning or somewhere in the middle. One spouse can follow or you can all go together in one big heap of family, touching down with a cartful of suitcases and a tattered to-do list and you know what? It’s still going to be okay.
If the next stop is a whistle stop, that’s ok. Maybe it’s a forever home or a wait and see home or a just for now and who knows how long we’ll be here home? Doesn’t matter. It’ll be ok.
It’ll be fine exactly because it will never be perfect. It wasn’t perfect this time around either–we all just forget and only remember the good things– because who wants to remember when it felt like you had no friends and you hated the bread because you didn’t know you needed to bake it before you ate it? See? I bet you forgot about that didn’t you! That’s how I know it will be ok.
It’ll be ok even if you hate the food because after a while you’ll find someone who knows a place where they sell this stuff and it’s amazing and you’ll soon wonder how you lived so long without it.
It’ll be ok because you’ll swoop down upon the shiny sparkle and bring it back to your nest and before you know it? You’ll try to clean your nest and find it chock full of so much sparkle you have to get rid of some. That’s how I know.
It’ll be just fine because you’ve done this before you can do it again. Of course you can! Why would you think you couldn’t? Don’t be silly. Trust me, I know.
You certainly don’t need my permission to scream and rage and get mad at the relocation agent for not listening when you said you needed a bath tub or pissed at your spouse for their dumb job or at your own dumb job or the global economy, hostile takeovers, aging parents, aging kids, asshole partners, whatever it is and…deep breath. It’ll be okay.
It’s ok to mourn what you are losing. Sit shiva for the comfort you’re leaving behind, but then take a deep breath–in through the nose–look in the mirror, and remind yourself, it’ll be just fine.
A year will go by in the blink of an eye and you’ll wonder where it went. You’ll go away and come back and things will be easier. Of course they will–why wouldn’t they? Things are just fine, you’ll tell yourself. And you won’t even be lying.
The kids will make friends. Maybe not right away. Maybe they’ll be sad or maybe they won’t be sad and you’ll wonder if there’s something wrong with them because surely they should be sad, right? But you’ll remember of course they were sad but now they’re not and you’re not and that amazing restaurant and that killer coffee and oh my god, that museum and see…it really was just fine after all.
If it seems insurmountable right now, if it feels like the house you’ve built, not just the one out of bricks and plaster but the one of friends and relationships and opportunity, the one where you got out of bed on a cold winter morning and felt all warm and snug–even if it feels like that house is crumbling around you? It won’t.
Those things can withstand a plane ride or a move or a time zone. They can survive being tossed about on sea or in the back of a truck, they’re not Aunt June’s fine china cup, after all. You’re much more resilient than that, waterproof and break proof, even if you do get a little bit bruised along the way.
It’ll be fine.
It’ll be better than fine. It’ll be great.
Just you wait.
For more musings of a life abroad, check out There’s Some Place Like Home, available now in paperback or Kindle.