Moving Far and Saying Goodbye: It’s Different For Each of Us

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We are a box of emotions right now. Each one of us expressing our anxiety, sadness, and excitement in different ways. Our countdown is ticking closer and closer to hitting the road, and reality is truly setting in. 

John has been living in a hotel for 3 weeks in Virginia; the kids and I have been in house-selling-survival mode. But after going under contract (to a delightfully wonderful family who loves the house as much as we do!!), my emotions are ready to explode. I won’t lie, I woke up with ‘Seller’s Remorse’ the morning after we accepted the offer. I have been burning from both ends over the last few weeks, and the reality of walking away from this house hit me hard. We only have days left of beautiful backyard sunsets, trail runs, and playing with friends here. The tears are real and falling hard.

As much as I could write about why I am crying, and why this move is so hard, I decided to try to shift my focus to how differently each of us is handling this – and how I am ((trying)) to support everyone’s needs while also keeping my sanity and checking the boxes of all that needs done.

I should start by acknowledging just how unique each of my children are. They have different love languages, different wants, and very different ways of releasing their emotions. I’m sure you can relate to this within your own home. Knowing each child as an individual is the first step in helping them with something as life-changing as a cross-country move. We did not handle our move to Nebraska well when considering the support our oldest child would need. She was 7 and internalized her anxiety and heartbreak to the point that it make her physically ill – ER trips and all – for months. So this time, I am determined to do better.

Scarlett, now age 10.5, is once again struggling with our relocation. She remembers Virginia and is battling with too many feelings at once – happiness, sadness, anxiety over change, and the heartbreak of saying goodbye – to her room, her house, and her friends. 

Scarlett is an empath. She absorbs all that is thrown out into the world. She was referred to as our little Earth Fairy throughout her early years, and I believe now more than ever that the title suits her. Here’s the biggest problem that we are experiencing right now: I am the opposite of Scarlett. My anxiety is not internalized AT ALL. Mine is spewed viciously out as if throwing it will somehow help it leave me. I make lists and tackle 12 projects at once. I stay up all night worrying and doing. I try to do others’ jobs as well as my own. I burn until everything is complete – and then I breathe. As you can imagine, my energy is not helping Scarlett. She has spent days at a time curled under a blanket doing little more than eat a few bites and sip water. 

Instead of push, as I tend to do, I am letting her sleep. I am also letting her dance it out in the kitchen, write it out in a diary (that no one else is allowed to read), and get lost in her books and podcasts. I purchased a weighted blanket for her and am trying to sit with her and just hold her more.

Emmett, age 8, is most worried about friends. I have helped him write letters to his closest friends and organize an open playdate for Sunday afternoon so anyone available can stop by and see him. He is rarely alone here, always surrounded by great friends – and these friendships are going to be missed. I don’t think the reality of everything will hit him until we are gone. Emmett gets overwhelmed easily, and he tends to become overly emotional – crying loud, hard, and acting in uncontrollable (but instantly regrettable) ways. While most of my energy is being spent on supporting Scarlett right now, Emmett is going to need a lot more once the boxes are packed and we start the drive. We plan to keep his diet clean (as he is the most effected by foods) as we travel, make sure he has time to run each day, and give him all the physical touch he needs – he’s a hugger. 

Lyle, our 6 year old, will remember this house. He will remember these friends. In all actuality, this will be the first home he remembers. Lyle retreats when his emotions become too big for him to swallow. He runs and hides and needs to be held – but also to have space. He cries, but in a different way than Scarlett, who cries of heartbreak. He cries in a different way than Emmett, who cries as a sensory overload. Lyle cried sweetly, gently, and purely. He is wise beyond his years, and he is already understanding the distance on the map. 

The littler kids are reacting to the energy that I’m throwing out. They are still young at ages 2.5 and almost 4 (but an immature almost 4). They will adapt and be okay as long as Mommy’s bed is open for them to snuggle in every night.

John flies in the night before the boxes are packed, and I couldn’t be more excited or terrified. It means that I have 2 days to organize everything for our drive, the rental house, and cross off 50 other items on the list. I’m feeling overwhelmed with the tasks, but more so, I am feeling heartbroken to say goodbye. Our neighbors have become out family. They cheer us on, share their wine, help us in every way possible, and have the biggest hearts. I know that I am drowning myself in the anxiety of the move and the children instead of handling my emotions of walking away from these amazing people. 

But today I am dedicating time to acknowledge my love for these friends. I am going to cry ugly tears over moving from this house. I am going to raise my wine glass to everything that Omaha has brought into my life – the slower pace, the longer conversations, and the focus on family. Cheers to Omaha. 

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