We had to make our decision to move to Sweden within 24 hours, and part of me hopes that the actual move would have been a shotgun move as well. There is nothing worse than waiting, and moving forward slowly and not knowing what comes ahead. The uncertain times still continue, and truth to be told, it has been tough, especially after my husband left.
I’ve tortured my friends with updates like “we didn’t get the house we wanted, will be homeless in Sweden soon”, and complained how hard it is to leave the US, or how sad it is to give away our dog and how people who say they’ll buy your things from Craig’s List don’t show up, and how it breaks my heart to see my kids’ friends and teachers hosting them farewell parties and how much I know they will be missed and they will miss their friends.
Part of me feels like I have to dwell on the bad parts of this move too. I have to carpe the shit out of diem of the crappy days too – or how else the good moments ever felt so good, if tough times weren’t meant to feel tough too?
It’s OK if it’s tough
My mother-in-law said to me (halfly joking, I hope) that part of her is happy that we are having rough time moving out of the US, because it sure is hard for her to see us go. And I get it. We are super excited about the move, can’t wait to live in Europe, and every day I see so many things around me that make me think “thank God we are moving to Sweden.” But how would people around me feel, if I mentioned these all the time? I think it is important for our family and friends to see too the real struggles we go through too, and the reality without sugarcoating it.
We talk about things we will miss and things we won’t miss with the kids all the time. I tell them more about Europe, they are too young to remember much from when we lived there and have visited the last times. I want them soak every single thing they love about Beacon, New York, were we live, and I want them to remember the things we don’t like here either. I’ve learned so much about my children this way. If we had only focused on the positive sides and how wonderful everything will be, I would have missed a huge opportunity to teach my children about life, and I would have missed an opportunity to get to know them better.
The things we won’t miss…
In one of the pictures my youngest drew was a Walmart with its big parking lot, and McDonalds on the other side, a sushi restaurant on the other side. The Walmart and the McDonalds parking lots were empty and the sushi restaurants parking lot was full. I asked what he thought when we drew the picture, he said “I don’t like McDonalds and Walmart, and maybe other people will learn to like the sushi place more too.” It reminded me of the lunch date in the school cafeteria earlier this school year with him. It was the lunch with parents day, and I had brought in a healthy lunch for him, and the parent sitting in the same table had brought a Happy Meal for her child. The principal of the school walks by and says “lucky you, you got a Happy Meal” for the kid with french fries, soda and chicken nuggets. My son’s face was stunned. How could the principle say “lucky you,” didn’t she know McDonalds food was unhealthy? My then 8-year old whispered to me he was the lucky one to get the healthy lunch and gave me a hug.
I understand that many things frustrate the kids too, and I know they will flourish in Europe. I know this is the right decision for our family. But still, knowing all this, it’s still not easy to hug your best friends, say good byes, get rid of everything you own, give away your dog and pack up and go.
Living in the moment
I don’t allow myself to think that a week from today I will be on our stopover in Iceland soaking my tired mind and body in Blue Lagoon hot springs. It will be amazing journey. But now, I still have to scrub a New York apartment, say farewell for our family pet who can’t come to Sweden with us, sell my car and pack everything. And I am taking every moment in as it comes.