Friday, October 7, 2011

Finding the Stability in Moving

Moving to me is like having a fresh start. It’s finding a new home, making new friends, embarking on an adventure. Whether you move around the block, several miles away, clear across the country or world, each move offers new opportunities.

I grew up in the same house until I left for college. My mom still lives in my childhood home. For a long time after I left, I had the same room, with the same bed, the same posters and furnishings. I had a sense of regularity, consistency and stability. Not much changed and I always knew where everything was. The longer I stayed away, the appearance slowly began to change, but I always came back to the same home. I didn’t necessarily want the same stability in my own life, but it was nice to come home to it every now and again.

I enjoy moving! Not the physical part of it, of course, but the energy that comes with moving. The excitement of a starting over; whether that meant a new space, new job, or friends.

Having moved eighteen times since leaving for college, I have it down to a science. You accumulate less, use the bare necessities, and learn to travel light. I find that I’m more flexible, social, resourceful and adventurous. I’m more spontaneous and less attached to material things. I make friends easily and always manage to find my way around.

Moving when you’re single, or at least without children, doesn’t hold the same responsibilities.  It’s easy, effortless and a whole lot of fun.  I hadn’t intended to be a transplant.  I’m definitely not a gypsy or a nomad, but opportunities came and I followed my heart.

When I finally got married and had a baby, I really thought I would settle down. This meant buying a house and living happily-ever-after. Well, it’s definitely been happily, but not ever-after.

In our son’s three years, he will have moved three times, with at least another time anticipated in the not so distant future.

As a mother, you worry about the effects a move, or multiple moves will have on your children. Will Braden feel insecure, unstable, and anxious? Will he become fearful, distant, or detached? Will he miss out on making solid childhood friendships? Friendships that will last him a lifetime.

Experts may argue that moving is traumatic for a child and that children need stability and consistency in their lives; to which I agree, to some extent. But what about the adventure that moving brings? The life lessons, experiences, and growth that you gain from living in multiple places, cultures and worlds? What about the flexibility that you learn, the sense of freedom you develop, or the acceptance of differences?

Don’t get me wrong, I want Braden to be grounded, but does that mean he needs to be grounded to one place or that he needs to be attached to a house or things?

Children do need security and familiarity, but that shouldn’t come from their relationship with things. It’s the relationships they form with people in their lives that should help them feel secure and loved.

I want Braden to have friendships that will last him a lifetime, but that doesn't mean his friendships need to be local. What an amazing gift it will be for him to have friends, like his parents, that he has made through the course of his life, who are scattered all over the world. Friends that he can call, Skype, email or travel to see.

I have no doubt that these next couple of years will provide Braden with experiences that will shape his development in a positive way. He will learn multiple languages, experience unique cultures, foods and people. He will learn differences and acceptance.

I am, New York-born, Bostonian-bred, and Californian at heart.  Now, this city-sunshine girl is finding herself moving for the ninetieth time. This time, half way around the world not only to a new place, but also a new language and culture. This time, however, I get to do it with my husband and son.

And together, we'll find the stability in moving within ourselves.



  1. You write very beautifully! I have a friend who moved to Europe last year and it was the third move (two to a new country) for her daughter who was five. Her daughter has done really well with the new places, cultures, and she is picking up on the language easily. I am certain that Braden will adjust well too. It will be a great adventure for your whole family and I am sure that you will find your ever-after home in the not so distant future (hopefully it will be in the LA area so we can see you and Braden more!)

  2. One thing you will realize in the not so distant future is that kids are super resiliant! Mine have traveled the world and lived overseas ... Learned another language. I wouldn't trade that life experience for anything in the world. He will thank you for it when he's older and understands the gift you have given him. Enjoy your new life and the one after that and the one after that...