Four more days.
That’s all the Pugliese family has left in our time here in Southwestern Pennsylvania. We moved here on July 19th, 2010, with excitement and worry about how our five and two-year-olds would adjust to leaving their friends and their home. The oldest tugged at our heartstrings about how he didn’t want to leave and “the big guys” (Elizabeth and I) were the only ones who wanted to move. Andrew and his little brother were vehemently opposed to the move.
Yet, when we pulled onto the new driveway and they saw the big backyard and the swing set at the back of the yard, they ran out of the car and dashed towards the swings, never mentioning living in Indiana again.
Here we are again. Only we have a fifteen-year-old, a thirteen-year-old and and ten-year-old. And change is hard again. They have great friends they are leaving behind. They have a home that is the only one they really remember, and the only one the youngest has known. Yet, the excitement of growth is outweighing the fear of change this time.
In the process of moving, invariably, others thoughts on moving are discussed in conversations. So many people mention how they would love to move but they don’t want to disrupt their kid’s school and activities. I learned something interesting during the process and the occasional guilt of tearing our kids away from an area that they are invested in.
Two of the most resilient, positive and generous people I know moved many times during their childhood. Well, that’s an understatement. One- John Stange- moved over a dozen times before he was eighteen. He is one of the most grounded, stable family men that I know raising four ambitious, hardworking kids with his wife Andrea. Courtney Wisely lapped Stange- having moved nearly thirty times in her youth! And we learn weekly that there is pretty much nothing that she can’t figure out.
You would think this would have caused resentment for not having a “forever” home to grow up in. And maybe there is some buried but what I see is an appreciation for the resiliency that they were provided because of the near constant change. While others are frozen in fear on making decisions, Stange and Wisely methodically toss aside challenge after challenge and accomplish things others would only dream of.
They are, at least to me, unfazed by the potholes in the road. Their resiliency is so deeply woven that these issues probably seem like amateur hour compared to what they have been challenged with in the past. The adjustments, meeting new friends and having to adapt to new environments strengthened them in ways that they most likely never knew was happening. So as we look to make our piddly second move and the guilt that we felt with it, maybe I didn’t quite get the lessons that could be learned in the process.
Life isn’t going to be easy. And making it as easy and comfortable for our kids might not always be the best idea. Not forcing them to readjust and relearn might actually be a disadvantage. We saw the same thing with homeschooling and traveling. Our kids make friends so easily now because they have had to adjust to different settings, towns and environments that there really was no choice and now socially, they are better off for it.
And as my friend Christine Kines said to me, “Hey, this is your life too. They have their entire life ahead to live wherever they want. Being older, why shouldn’t you get the opportunity now when they have so much in front of them?”
That was an interesting point that I hadn’t thought of. So many parents don’t live the life that they want because of too much sacrifice for what they believe their kids need. But what if our kids need us to live the life that we want, which also helps build their resiliency for later in life? I’m not sure, but that’s the story that I’m sticking to until we get to Florida to ward off any dad guilt. We’ll see what happens.
Four more days.