When my husband received a new job offer in Florida I had mixed feelings. I was excited, but also sad, and surprisingly angry. I have watched friends move in and out of our town with spouses that are transferred, but I never realized how much uncertainty they faced. My husband, Tom has a job and knows people already — a platform of sorts to jump from. I, on the other hand will be recreating my life from scratch. The list of changes was initially overwhelming. We would not only send our youngest child off to college this summer but would also relocate from my hometown in Texas to Florida, leaving behind friends, family, my teaching career, and an incredible support network of friends. It was a recipe for an identity crisis. Below is a list of issues I have had to deal with and what I learned. If you are going through something similar, I hope this helps, but know that no matter the path you take, there are no good or bad decisions — just good stories.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
― Brené Brown
Telling your kids that you are moving to a new town
This was not as hard as I expected it to be. Our oldest child was very supportive – he has his own life now as a junior in college and looks forward to visiting us by the beach. Our youngest child; however, is in an entirely different situation. He was very concerned that he would never see his friends again. In honor of his concerns, we have decided to allow him to stay with friends for part of the summer and fly out to spend the end of the summer with us. I am fortunate that my mother lives in our old town and can be a soft place for him to land if needed. She has also agreed to keep his car in her driveway while he is with us in Florida …. but more on logistics later. Respect your children’s reactions and try to accommodate them as much as possible. My boys are sad about losing their childhood home, but they understand. They are both on the cusp of creating their own lives. If anyone can understand our jump into the unknown, it’s our children. We are all in it together. They really want us all to tatoo the coordinates of our home on our bodies, but that might be something I pass on .
Telling your extended family….
This also was harder in my imagination than in reality. I worried so much about my mother and sister’s reactions that when we went to mom’s to tell her I had butterflies in my stomach. But, she was great about it. Somehow I forgot that my 79 year old mother had been a Marine Corps wife for 25 years and has lived all over the world. She did not seem concerned much at all and was quite supportive. My tips — take your significant other with you and have him or her break the news. My husband is not as emotionally vested as I am with my mother and I think that in and of itself is reassuring. Assure your family that you will come back often and go ahead and book a few trips. My mother actually seemed happy that now I would have to spend the night with her and have more concentrated time. We really don’t see each other that often as it is. She is looking forward to having my undivided attention. And my sister — well, she is awesome. She immediately put herself in my position. This, after all, could happen to her too.
Resigning from your job.
I am a high school teacher and I work at my son’s school. In addition to that, I teach a fairly specialized class. I felt that by resigning I was not living up to my commitment to the school and my principal — but guess what?? Everyone is replaceable. It took them all of two weeks to find another teacher, sign him up for training, and move on. No hard feelings. Ok – maybe it was a little hard for me to see how easily they can move on, but it does give me perspective on the unecessary emotional attachment I have placed on my career. Let it go.
Honestly, I still have no idea how this will all work out. We bought a house before our current house sold. We need to launch our child to college gracefully, while he might be living with friends. The list goes on. At first, I was freaked out about everything, but I realize now that life always, and I mean ALWAYS, has a way of working itself out.