What I’ve learned a year after moving my family cross country

It’s almost impossible to believe that it’s been a whole year since my family loaded up in the Yukon and drove the 12 hours south to our new home in Texas.

I was in my first trimester, super sick and exhausted. My husband had already made the move the month before and started his new job, and my mom drove with me and our two kiddos.

I still remember the relief I felt when climbing out of the car and being reunited with my husband.

The guilt as my mom unpacked boxes and watched the kids as I lay nauseated on the couch.

I remember how much I appreciated my dad driving down by himself to deliver our pets and help hang pictures and turn our house into a home.

I can feel the angst in my stomach that I felt as my mom and dad drove away and left us in an unfamiliar place, no longer surrounded by friends and family.

One thought kept circulating back to the front of my mind…

Did we make the right choice?

The summer of 2016 was one of the hardest times in my entire life.

My pregnant body was fatigued and barely functioning in the Houston heat.

There was no down time between finding new doctors, new schools and new clients for my business.

The cross country move left us with credit card debt for the first time in our marriage. Home and car repairs added insult to injury.

I locked my keys in the car on more than one occasion. The AAA service man knew our address.

Most days, my mind struggled to reconcile hormonal stresses with real life ones as I sat alone in my office while the kids were at preschool.

Even with the hardships we faced, this is a happy story.

In one year, I went from one of the lowest points in my life, to the highest.

Our kids have flourished over the past year. They’ve learned to swim! They’ve grown so big they needed new bicycles to ride to the neighborhood park.

Daphne will enter Kindergarten with basic reading, writing and mathematics skills, a memorized address, an eagerness to learn, and loads of confidence.

Henry is finally potty trained and enjoys showing off his days of the week and months of the year songs, usually accompanied with a silly dance.

Our sweet Audrey, our only “true” Texan, was born in this new home of ours and has brought a fresh burst of happiness to fill our lives in ways we didn’t know we needed.

Justin is around more than he ever was able to be before. He has flexibility, hobbies, home projects and time for exercise that all got stuck on pause as a hustling entrepreneur managing various stores and employees in Kansas City.

My business has been growing steadily and transformed in natural ways that highlight what I love and what I’m good at. I am excited about every project I’m working on and the women entrepreneurs I get to work with.

I have friends I cannot imagine my life without – people I’d never met if we didn’t make the move.

Not everyday is roses, believe me. But at this moment, a year after our move, I am perfectly fulfilled.

It certainly wasn’t a walk in the park, but moving with small children, an ambitious husband and a new business taught me a lot about what we’re capable of as a family. Here are my big takeaways a year after moving my family cross country.

moving my family cross country

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

No one said it’s easy to put yourself out there. In fact, even when you’re an extrovert like I am it can be pretty awkward to show up somewhere unfamiliar and insert yourself in a conversation. However, if you sit at home waiting for a dozen new friends to show up at your door you will be sorely disappointed. I knew I’d need socialization immediately, so I joined a mom’s group, chatted it up with other parents at the pool and participated in a professional women’s organization. Also, I figured the quicker I learn my way around, the less unfamiliar this new place would feel. I looked at maps online, spent weekends exploring parks with the family and drove around memorizing street names to get acquainted with the city.

People are kind.

I have to confess something that may sound silly now: when we first moved here I had nightmares that by the time my kids’ birthdays rolled around we wouldn’t have any friends to invite to their birthday party! I laugh now, because the outpouring of genuine friendship toward my family over the last year was abundant. Friends from my moms’ group would text me randomly or swing by unexpectedly {with gifts!} to see how I was adjusting. When I was on bedrest, neighbors would offer to have the kids over for a playdate. After the baby was born, we had food for weeks. And yes, even my kids had plenty of friends to help them celebrate turning a year older. We are eternally grateful for all of the kindness people showed us this past year.

Family is everything.

Not many couples with young children decide to move away from family. Truth be told, I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you have a phenomenal reason. We left more than just my parents, cousins, aunt and uncles, and friends when we left Kansas City. We left a support system, built in babysitters and emergency contacts. While we’ve built relationships with neighbors and friends who can fill some of these gaps, there are still many {many!} times I wish my parents were just down the street.

Kids are people, too.

I knew that my family’s happiness rested greatly on my shoulders. It was a pressure that oftentimes felt like a burden when I was feeling anything but happy. Overwhelmed? Yes. Frustrated? At times. Lonely? You bet ya. Yet I was always keenly aware that our children would look to me to see how I was adjusting, before coming to their own conclusions about this new community. I did this quite imperfectly, but even if I had I think our children would have struggled a bit. Our kids’ behavior was pretty rough the first few months after the move until they settled into a new routine at school. I’m sure the news of the new baby didn’t help. Kids are resilient, but they are also people who deserve time and space and a little bit of grace to adjust to change.

Life is what you make it.

I think the number one reason we’ve embraced our new home is because we came in to this new chapter with a positive attitude. No body forced my husband to accept the job opportunity. There were times when it was extremely stressful, lonely, and even scary. But when we decided to move we also decided to make it a fun adventure. For the most part we’ve really stuck to that, and when we waiver it’s a good reminder to set our perspective straight again.

Our story isn’t over.

We went back to Kansas City last month for a whole week. Our family of 5 stayed with my aunt and uncle and their family of 7. Every night was a slumber party! It was so great to spend quality time with family, our old neighbors, and friends. We got asked by almost everyone when we’d be moving back. It’s funny, because when we left, we always said we could always just move back if we weren’t happy. So it was almost hard to break it to them that we weren’t. Not anytime soon anyway. Texas may end up being just one chapter in our lives or a few, or maybe it will finish the whole book. Either way, we know it will turn out great.

 

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