Here is the internet's and several "family experts" general consensus on how to support your kids in an emotionally healthy way when making a big move:
- Keep a positive attitude! Your kids take their cues from you! If you are happy then they will be happy!
- But wait, don't be too happy. Your kids need to know that it's okay to be sad, and they'll see that by watching you.
- But not too sad!
- This event will build a deep-seated sense of empathy and resilience in your children.
- Don't do it. Just don't move. It's too hard and your kids will be wrecked forever.
What I'm saying is the advice I read was, for the most part, somewhat less than helpful, although I still wasn't afraid to read it to Derek in an increasingly panicked voice. When we did actually break the news, I like to think we hit somewhere in the middle of all that advice, with Derek remaining calm but also reassuring the kids that they were going to feel many different emotions over a long period of time, and that they were all okay. He told them that it was okay to be mad at him, it was okay to be sad, okay to be excited, or some mixture of all three of those and more. I mostly just cried, as did Adelaide. Caedmon was, ahem, demonstrably upset for around three minutes before he calmed right down and started asking questions about Connecticut. Atticus took it all in stride after we reassured him that there are sports in CT and that yes, we would be bring the Nintendo Switch.
Since then there has been a lot of talk about feelings. So so much. We talk about how we're feeling on this day and on that day, and how we felt when breaking the news to this person and to that person, and how sick we are of feeling so many feelings. For a while Caedmon reported feeling sick to his stomach most evenings because he had such a mixture of feelings inside him. It's been super fun.
Derek and I are grateful that the kids still want to share these feelings with us, however. I had feared that at least one of the kids would shut themselves away from the family, and while this still may happen at some point, for now they're still being quite open with us. We try to encourage this by keeping time open (even when we don't feel like it, or maybe especially when we don't feel like it), and by keeping our reactions to their "feelings" statements very even and validating. I don't blame you for being mad at us, I would be, too. I feel sad at weird times, too. I don't like it when people respond to our news in that way, either. Yes, we will find a soccer team for you to join out there. No, you are not automatically getting a phone because we are moving. No, I will not let you audition for American Ninja Warrior Junior because we are moving. Uuuh, you want to change your name to Casey when we move and have us all call you that from now on? Huh. Let me talk to your Dad about that one.
Sometimes our discussions on feelings devolve a bit.
Tomorrow: selling a house in the age of smart phones, and why it's amazing! and simultaneously bizarre!
1. FaceTime. Also I need to know what Tina Fey would call FaceTime because her not-so-subtle name for Facebook on the show 30 Rock- "YouFace"- is so perfect that I feel she is the only person for this task.
2. Being able to be outside without putting on a million layers just so you don't die.
3. Middle school track meets. No, Daughter is not in track, but we went last night to cheer on her friends, and MY GOODNESS was it fun. The pressure is relatively low; (although perhaps it felt that way because none of my kids were actually participating) this is so obviously new to 90% of the kids there. They're just trying to do weird things like jump over poles backwards and leap around in the sand (can you tell I never did track?). There is a lot of tripping over hurdles, but also a lot of cheering for a bunch of brave girls willing to go outside of their comfort zones, so much so that I almost lost my voice.
4. Pinch of Yum's Queso Chicken Chili. Fast, easy, delicious.
5. The Popcast. Particularly the "No's" episodes (the No's of weddings, the No's of Halloween, etc) and the Flavor Town episodes. Hilarious.