When I’m traveling and people ask me where I’m from, I usually can’t just say, “New York” or “Pennsylvania” or “Alabama”. I have to give them a backstory about how we managed to move from the Deep South to the Northeast. My husband and I have worked and lived in several different states over the past few years. Usually, the next question is, “Is your husband in the military?” and the answer to that is, “No.” The nature of his business requires travel and an occasional uprooting and relocating.
The upside to moving, is meeting new people. Yes, you spend a lot of time relying on your GPS to get you from point A to B for a while, but that’s okay. I also appreciate the kindness of new neighbors and friendly moms at the kids’ schools/activities. Sadly, when you move, you lose the closeness of the friends you made. And children…oh the children, depending on their ages, will seem like their world has come crashing down around them. And to them – it has, but it’s only temporary. We really miss the families who “adopted” us when our biological family couldn’t be there. Despite all the wonderful things that moving brings, the reality of it all is that when you move, you lose your “village”.
Despite all the wonderful things that moving brings, the reality of it all is that when you move, you lose your “village”.
Village – you know, the “one that it takes to raise a child”. Yes, it’s a proverbial saying but it’s soooo true! Just think about it: When filling out school registration forms, most people, don’t have to think twice about an EMERGENCY CONTACT. Well, when you’re new, and your last emergency contact (which by the way has to be someone other than the child’s parents) is now hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles away. What happens now? Well, I’ll tell you what happens. You hesitantly place someone there. Someone who’s most likely miles and hours away and will not be showing up within minutes of any emergency. But, you write them in anyway, with a side note saying, “This person is a placeholder until a local contact is established”.
When you’re the new kid on the block and the only people you know are your spouse and your own children, that means that there’s a lot of meeting, greeting, and village building to do. This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and it’s not to be forced. In this day and age, you just can’t trust everyone – especially with your kids. So, you rely heavily on play date arrangements, small talk and getting to know other moms at the kids’ activities, and/or possibly joining mother’s organizations.
I have found that kids are more resilient than we give them credit for. It’s us, the adults, who have the hardest time opening up and letting others into our lives – rightfully so. Our private lives and our families are precious commodities and should be protected. Sure, it’s a blessing to be able to see the world and for the kids to acquire the precious skill of adaptation. But, no matter where we go or who we meet, our children will always need the wisdom of elders and the extra love and care of an extended family. So, until you go from “placeholder” to finding someone from your new village, you just have to rely on God for guidance and each other as a family unit. Everything else will work out.
BMWK – What would you do without your “village”?