We are mid move. And by mid move, I don’t mean we’re sitting in our half empty living room surrounded by boxes, waiting for the movers to come for the final push. No. By mid move I mean that all of our possessions are either on a boat somewhere on the Pacific right now or in one of about four suit cases that we brought with us on the airplane (and subsequently in the rental car since our truck, too, is on a boat), along with a crate containing one Pete-the-Cat. The logistics of moving off an island are staggering, and at this point we’re literally in the middle of the actual journey from one home to the next, a process that’s nearly two weeks long as luck would have it.
We’re moving from a beautiful if hot tropical island to a beautiful if cold mountainous terrain. Yes, back to Montana we go, for a variety of reasons that I just don’t have in me to go through right now at my keyboard. We’re headed back to our little cabin up a long dirt road, with no electricity and no running water. That’s fun to say, but of course in actuality we have a nice wood stove, a generator, propane lights and appliances, and a hand pump, so it’s really quite livable. There’s even a way we can get internet, which my husband is on top of, I’m sure. It’s all an adventure, no?
Montana was where my babies were both born, but Hawaii was where they became kids. After a dozen years in Montana, we spent just two and a half in Hawaii, which is what we had planned on when we left. It still feels like a jolt to me as an adult. For the kids, though, worried friends have asked “Won’t they be upset by all the moving?” My initial response would be a concerned and resounding “YES! Oh God, are we screwing this all up?!” But in reality, they are resilient little beings. They have proven time and again an ability to just roll with the punches without batting an eyelash. I’m probably exaggerating that a bit, but really they’re actually stoked about the move- I mean they’re moving back to their cousins and Nana, back to the river’s edge surrounded by mountains. It is kind of dreamy for a three and five year old. Hell, it’s pretty dreamy for a 35-year old for that matter.
I hope that a big part of their attitude is ours. We’ve been trying to present it as a jolly adventure. We’ve given them a say and focused on the positives. Kids, man. They’re sponges and they’ll pick up on all the nuances you put out. So when I first went to the library to get a stack of books about moving, I came home with only two books. Seriously. Almost every book I went in looking for focused on fear, anger, sadness. I didn’t want to introduce to my kids that moving should be scary and bad. They had such a positive attitude already, I didn’t want to cloud it. So I reshelved the majority of my list and ended up rethinking the the whole book thing. I tell you, it was tough coming up with 10 books to make this list, at least 10 books that didn’t begin with the premise that moving is dreadful and end with new homes and friends being only just bearable. While some of these books do begin with a child feeling terrified or lonely or frustrated, I figure it’s unfortunate, but it makes for a more well rounded list. Several are about making new friends- Ella the Elegant Elephant, Neville, and Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House. Some are about trepidation- Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport (which I TOTALLY remember from Reading Rainbow), and A Kiss Goodbye. The 39 Apartments of Ludwig Van Beethoven isn’t even about kids moving at all- but rather showcases all the different places that Beethoven lived and how on Earth he was able to move pianos to all those upper floor apartments with no focus whatsoever on the emotions involved (“See kids? At least we haven’t moved as much as that guy!”). And a couple are a purely fun spin on moving, light and enjoyable- especially A Brave Spaceboy and Moving House.
While we still have a week or so before we drive up to our little cabin, we’ll be reading the fun ones. We’ll be talking up the fishing and rafting and family time. We’ll be acknowledging that we all will miss our friends in Hawaii, but knowing they’ll be there when we visit.
It’s not easy, but there’s so much to look forward to. Like seasons, for instance. Perhaps a seasonal book for my next post- if my husband figures out the whole internet-off-the-grid thing…
- A Kiss Goodbye, by Audrey Penn
- Ella the Elegant Elephant, by Carmela D’Amico
- Augustine, by Melanie Watt
- A Brave Spaceboy, by Dana Kessimakis Smith
- Moving House, by Mark Siegel
- Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House, by Libby Gleeson
- Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport, by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
- Neville, by Norton Juster
- The 39 Apartments of Ludwig van Beethoven, by Jonah Winter
- Moving Molly, by Shirley Hughes