It is mystifying to me that we have been here for nearly a year already! Ten months ago, I was filled with excitement and eager for a new adventure. I was positive and cheerful and rearing to cheer my husband on during his new career adventure. Of course, we were thrilled to settle down and plant roots and bloom where we were being planted. We were blessed after a whole lot of searching to find a rental in a great area, we gave ourselves a one year limit on living in that house while we shopped for our dream home. We enrolled the boys in school and took advantage of the incredible summer camps and programs in our area. We marveled at a state without humidity, we joined great gyms, and quickly began to build a community.
Oregon has been filled with new opportunities, getting to explore and eat and meet new people. I’m an outgoing extrovert and my cup has runneth over since we moved here in MANY ways. We’ve caught crab from the Pacific Ocean, visited Washington, Idaho, Halloweentown, and spent many weekends on the Oregon coast. We became Costco members, and we have made friends who have never eaten at a White Castle. I felt compelled to write about the less blissful parts of moving, on the off chance any of you feel you’re in limbo personally or professionally. The decision to move your family across the country for work or personal reasons is never a simple one. So here’s what we’ve learned along the way.
God’s plan really is always bigger than yours. This is self explanatory. For me, letting go of control over has been my biggest challenge. Questions plaque like, “is this our forever city?” “do we need to buy a house” “why do I feel hesitant?” “Is this a sign from a higher power?” This year, I’ve learned how to truly and authentically trust that God has a plan for my life bigger and better than anything I could dream for myself and my family. He never promised me an adversity exempt life, but he did promise me eternal salvation and unlimited grace.
Distance doesn’t have to mean the end of friendships. Long distance friendships are certainly challenging. Finding a few moments to truly connect while simultaneously managing our households and caring for small children isn’t an easy chore. Here’s the thing I’m realizing though, those few moments mean more than all the unselfish time in the world. There is so much to be thankful for you when you land a friendship where you just pick up where you left off.
Moving with kids is a whole different ball game. My husband was in the military for ten years, so we were pretty good at relocating until we had children. They are small and they are emotional and they are our precious, precious responsibility. We moved our children from the only place they’d ever known last May, and it was overwhelmingly difficult in surprising ways. Liam battled nightmares for months after we moved, and Sawyer’s sleep schedule suffered tremendously. There was no one here for me to lament with, because they didn’t know how much we fought for their separate health issues. We greatly missed the people who had walked alongside us during our most vulnerable and stressful moments. Most of all they missed their friends and their backyard (a rarity here) but it has ended up being a great thing to stretch them out of their comfort zones and help them strengthen confidence. It has given us a really unique opportunity to teach them about forming connections and building friendships.
Find a church right away. We were lucky that our online research aligned well with our in person experience, and we fell right in love with our local Catholic church. It has been a constant landing place for us since we moved.
Make a list of free things to get involved in with your kids. This is something I do every season, I write out a list of programs we can do for free-10.00 and then I always have a Rolodex of playdate suggestions. I also just find that going to the same places over and over makes it incredibly easy to connect with the same families on the regular.
Moving has been a really humbling experience, starting anew is difficult. I’ve found this to be especially true now that my boys are older and mom’s groups and meet ups aren’t as commonplace. It has opened up a lot of space for me to feel uncomfortable and stretch slightly beyond what feels most natural and comfortable. It has taught me that sometimes to form authentic friendships, you have to be willing to make the first move and offer your home or suggest a Chick Fil A play-date. It has given me the opportunity to model for my own kids how to make friends and how to move gracefully. (even if some days we want to pack up and move back “home.”)