I couldn’t decide whether to call this post “Moving to Another City With 4 Children” or “I’m Having a Psychotic Breakdown”

Today, we put a deposit on a house we’re going to rent in another city. As soon as school gets out, we’re moving.  My poor husband has been commuting 3 hours a day for a few years now, so moving is a good thing.

But it’s hard.

I’ve lived in two places in my entire life.  The town I grew up in, and the city I went away to for college.  I’ve lived in my home for 10 years and 3 of my 4 kids came home from the hospital to this house. My husband tries to understand, but it’s different for him.  He probably moved 10+ times before he finished grade school, and lived in multiple places as a young adult.

I don’t much like change.  I have my running route.  I have the place I like to get a muffin and a frozen hot chocolate, and my favorite parks. I have mom friends I count myself lucky to know — who else wants to chat endlessly about how crazy beautiful life with children is? And I’ve recently decided there are no front porches like my front porch, and my view of… a crappy road on a hill. The rest of the view is blocked by other houses.  It’s stunning.  I’m serious.  I will never find exactly that view. [Hey, City of Dubuque! If you’re reading this… my road could use to be refinished!]

My memories of my children are here.  Their tree house is here.  Maybe I can dismantle it and take it to the next house and put it back together in a new tree. A house full of furniture and 6 people’s belongings isn’t enough stuff to move yet.  Please let my husband know I’m volunteering him to move the tree house.

I’ve jumped on the trampoline at midnight here when my brain was going a million miles an hour and I couldn’t sleep.  I played basketball on the patio in the backyard.  My best friend lived next door to me here before she passed away. I’ve grilled supper out on the deck hundreds of times. I chased my boys around the yard when they were toddlers.  And chased them with water guns when they got to be school age. My oldest is as tall as me now and will soon be a teenager.

I’ve been cleaning the house like mad for the showings that will undoubtedly happen soon. If you’ve never tried to sell a house while four children are living there, I’ll enlighten you:  It’s like following a salt truck around trying to sweep up the salt and the truck keeps driving away dumping salt all over the place.  I may have already gone half mad from this routine. Possibly entirely mad.

Last night, as I cleaned until the wee hours of the morning (12 realtors were scheduled to tour our house today), I looked around and began to cry.  Everyone else was asleep.  Everything was spotless.  And everything was suddenly wrong. I must have sat down and bawled for an hour looking around our house and thinking about how, very soon, it will belong to someone else.  What the heck was my problem?  We’re moving where my husband has a career and will have opportunities for advancement.  We’re moving to a house where I’ll have an office to write in, instead of wherever I can sit between toys and kids on the floor with my laptop. We’re moving to a place where my husband will actually get to be home during the week instead of driving 3 hours a day round-trip. And this move is another step toward getting to the mountains permanently. So why couldn’t I quit crying like a big baby? I didn’t know… but I knew it was more than the fact that I’m running on barely any sleep lately… so I cried until I was exhausted, then went to bed.

While driving today, I suddenly realized that it’s not the house I’m so upset about.  I had thought it was too painful to let the house go because of the memories of my kids in it. But that’s not it.  It’s my older two kids.  They’re so big!  I didn’t know they would grow so quickly.  I didn’t know that, in the blink of an eye, they would go from me chasing them around on their tricycles, listening to their infectious toddler giggles, to me wishing they would tell me more than half a sentence about their day before they dashed out the door to their friend’s house. And how can my boys be riding mountain bikes with no training wheels?  When did that happen?!

I’m really upset because my boys are growing up too quickly!  Proud of them as I am, I’m also sad they don’t need Mom to kiss their owies anymore; that they are too big to pick up; that they don’t like being called my “babies”. (Tough about that 3rd one… they’re my babies. Always have been and always will be.)

Just as I realized what was really upsetting me, a song came on the radio…

“I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It’s personal, myself and I
We’ve got some straightenin’ out to do

And I’m gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I’ve got to get a move on with my life
It’s time to be a big girl now
And big girls don’t cry”

Oh. I guess big girls don’t cry.  Except sometimes. If they’re moms and they realize how fast their babies are growing up.

Hug your kids! Their childhood goes by too fast. And one day (too soon) I’m really going to miss them…


2 comments on “I couldn’t decide whether to call this post “Moving to Another City With 4 Children” or “I’m Having a Psychotic Breakdown”
  1. Ann says:

    You’ve got me tearing up now……….as I approach my 54th birthday on Easter Sunday. My oldest son will turn 35 this summer and my oldest granddaughter will be 11,starting junior high next fall. Where does the time go? One thing I can tell you, at age 25 I never in the world thought 50+ years old would be OK. It’s actually pretty awesome. The kids are grown and happy. The house is paid off. Lots of lifes stresses are gone. I can do what I want,when I want. Sure, the wrinkles,grey hair,extra pounds and all that come with it too, but I’d rather age gracefully than try to inject my face with all those hardeners like the celebrities. Take a deep breath and enjoy the changes, take LOTS of photos and keep writing….please

    • danelle says:

      Thanks, Ann! You’re making me cry, too! I don’t know where the time goes, but I agree with you about aging gracefully and enjoying all of life’s moments. And I love to write, so of course I will keep at it, and I’m so happy you enjoy reading it!

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