Life events don’t come much bigger than moving home, especially if you have little ones. So how do you lovingly explain to them that you plan to pack up all they know and move it to a strange place splattered with dodgy wallpaper, a smaller garden and a kitchen with a funny smell? Gently is how.
However, twice we were left with packed boxes and dismantled furniture after the moves fell through. We didn’t achieve the “gently” bit, we got enthu- siastic and organised and created a confusing atmosphere, especially once our possessions appeared back on the shelves after we submitted to the fact that our plans had to change once again. It never occurred to us that the moves wouldn’t happen. We had built up the expectation and then it crumbled around us, and we didn’t know how to reverse all the promises we’d made.
We forgot that, no matter how much we disliked our house, The Boy didn’t share our misgivings. To us, it was small, damp and not the place we were able to thrive as a growing family. To him, it had the living room with the perfect hiding place behind the sofa, the garden where mud pies were always available, and it was the safest place he’d ever known.
It’s difficult to say what The Boy understood, but the uncertainty played out in various behavioural patterns, like suddenly refusing to sleep in his bed because he no longer liked his room. He became fearful that ghosts were everywhere, preventing him from enjoying some independent play, which he had recently started to develop. He had taken a step backwards because there was suddenly an element of uncertainty in his life.
And then it happened. We signed on the dotted line and the process began all over again. On moving day, I made sure there was lots of cake, nice drinks, grandparents to play with and a new DVD for him to watch. This helped to buffer the stress of watching The Wife trying to locate the right drawer for the utensils, and me pounding up and down the stairs with a sweaty face and an endless supply of boxes.
The first couple of nights in the new place were difficult, but we settled in quickly. Our family now has the space it needs but, more importantly, we don’t just live in a house now, we finally have a place we can call a home.
BY ADAM GLENNON