This morning I was reminded by my husband that this time last year we packed up our SUV and started our trek across the country to Massachusetts, catching our last glimpse of the Rocky Mountains.
I remember my emotions exactly—the perfect combination of nerves and excitement. I could not wait to start our new adventure as a family, yet I couldn't ignore the anxious feelings that were creeping in when I realized Mom would no longer be a few exits off the highway.
“Are we making the right decision?”
“Would the kids adapt to their new schools?”
“Will we all make new friends?”
As I reflect on the past year, it is hard to believe all that we've experienced. It has been a year of learning and growing for all of us and honestly it has been tough. But even in those very challenging moments, I am thankful that we’ve stuck it out and have created our home away from home.
To my fellow mama who has moved away from family, here's what I’ve learned:
Raising a family thousands of miles away from our families is really really hard.
Finding a babysitter is even harder. We didn't quite think through the half days at school, the sick days, and the dire need for date nights—leaving us to experience many stressful moments scrambling to find childcare. As much as it pains me to admit there are times I really needed my mom, it is so true.
Once the excitement wears off and you realize you are in a town where you literally know nobody, it can be scary.
I'm not generally a person who puts too much thought into what others think of me, but this year I felt like a freshman in high school, seeking the approval of all my peers. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Are we the weird outsiders from Colorado?”
You can imagine the anxiety that set in when my son asked to wear a Bronco's jersey his first day of school in New England.
Moving to a new town on a completely different coast was a culture shock.
It is very, very obvious that we are not from here. We don’t have the accent and we are not exactly Patriots fans (seriously though, people worship Tom Brady here). These things alone were enough to bring up the inevitable question ”Should we move back?”
But eventually it did get easier, and I for one have learned a lot about myself.
I learned that I can be really vulnerable.
When you move to an unfamiliar place, you basically have two choices. You can either hide behind your fear of putting yourself out there, or you can try and get connected. Instead of sitting in the back pew at church I decided to get plugged in. Rather than simply attend, I’ve gotten involved. It was far from easy, but I’ve developed some amazing friendships and our church is now our family here.
I’ve learned that relying on my spouse is okay.
It’s in my blood to want to handle things on my own and prove to myself that I can do just that. But this year there have been so many moments I probably wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed without his help (literally). We’ve built a deeper bond because of that, and we’ve learned to work as a team.
We’re building a tight family unit.
We actually have a lot more time together than we’ve ever had before. Instead of driving all over the state alternating our weekends at each other’s hometowns, we are exploring new territory together. We are forming memories and traditions for our children and we are going places we have never been, seeing things we’ve never seen, on our own agenda.
We have been blessed that our decision to move was the right one. Living so far away is not for everyone, but if you’re thinking it could be an option for your family, you may just find a new adventure is what you need. Plus home will always be there, waiting for you if you ever need to come back.