Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stability During The Move

The last week has been pretty chaotic in the house due to our pending move from Germany back to the U.S.  In spite of the turmoil, I’ve enjoyed watching how my son’s reaction to the process that moves an entire household from one place to another.  The last time we did this, Paul was only a year and a half old.  It was all adventure and no real stress for him.  Now he’s four and taking it all in--an interactive participant in everything we do.

About a month ago we shipped our dog to my wife’s parents.  That took a little explaining.  Steph’s mom has been here for the last few weeks as we’ve prepared the house and had the packing crew here.  Over the past five days we worked to set aside the things we need to keep with us for our final month here, and shipped away everything we own.  As I type this today, we have an empty house except for a small amount of clothing, books, temporary furniture, our tech, and a TV.
Paul’s done very well with the whole thing this time, watching with interest, curiosity, and with some trepidation as he’s seen everything disappear from the house--the majority of which went during the last two days.
Then this morning he was anxious about going to school.  There were tears.  No doubt it was due to seeing so much change happening at home--where he draws his strength and stability.  With all that unhinged, I’m surprised he hasn’t been more nervous.  We reassure him and as I’ve written about before, continue to encourage him about the adventure we’re on.  Yesterday we told him the men who came into the house to pack us out were wrapping everything carefully so they can bring all his things back to his new house and new bedroom in Nevada.  I can tell he understands, but his eyes tell me he’s unsure and nervous.  I almost wonder in the back of his mind if he’s worried Stephanie and I will disappear next.
I wrestled with making him go to school or letting him stay home.  I decided he needed to go to school.  The struggle in my mind was over how to best reinforce stability for him in the midst of incredible change.  There’s no right answer to blanket every situation like this for my son, or for other children in the same circumstances, but my decision this morning was based on school itself being a constant for him.  While everything else seems to be changing, school hasn’t.  School is still part of the routine, and in its place.  His teachers and friends are there waiting for him and eager to learn and play.  Stability.
This morning was a tough little moment for me as a dad.  This parenting thing is definitely art.  It’s awesome, exciting, incredibly fun, and exceedingly difficult.  Then again, of course it is--it’s pure love.
It’s great to be a dad!

1 comment:

  1. I remember begin young and moving back and forth from Germany->Texas->Germany. I was a bit older than Paul is; he is the same age i was when I first moved to Germany. I barely remember much about the moving process that first time.

    But in the later moves, I remember being amazed and full of wonder when we would show up at a new place and all my stuff was there - just where I had put it! It wasn't the same thing as Christmas, but it was still cool to see favorite toys and books again after an extended absence. Toys I hadn't played with in a while felt new again; books i hadn't read in a while were exciting again. And there was even a bit of "Meh. I wouldn't have missed this." after unpacking.

    I don't ever remember feeling worried that my folks would get packed up or disappear, though. The routine was pretty...well, routine. It wasn't until later in life (much later) that I discovered that my dad had gone on ahead of us the first time out, when I was around Paul's age. I just always figured my folks had always been there, even when I couldn't remember for myself.


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