For the last six years — ever since we had our fourth and then fifth child — we've been steadily outgrowing our home. Day by day, we would stretch the limits of what our four-bedroom house could hold. And, day by day, we grew more and more frustrated with the limited amount of space we had for our five rambunctious and growing children.
This winter, we decided enough was enough. It was time to move! We spent two months shopping for the perfect place that was both in our budget and big enough for the seven of us. We went through three grueling house offers before we found the right one.
Then we carefully broke the news to our kiddos.
We knew it would be a hard decision before we let the kids in on what was happening, but neither my husband or I had been expecting the intensity of how bittersweet it would be. The kids were equal parts excited and devastated. One second they would be thrilled to have more space to run and a place to call their own; the next they’d dive into the pits of despair at having to leave their good friends behind and the home they’ve called theirs for the majority of their little lives.
Zach and I felt the same way — but especially me. We couldn’t stay where we were forever; we knew that. But it had been our home for more than six years. We’d raised our average family into a big family, bringing home two newborns there. There are years of Christmases, birthdays and countless celebrations tucked away there. It wasn’t a place we were happy to leave.
Also, it’s no easy task moving seven people. By the time we were through packing, we’d filled the equivalent of three dumpsters and given countless van loads of donations to the Goodwill. Twenty of our friends pitched in to help pack, move and dig out a hot tub from the frozen tundra of a backyard during a snow storm, lift it over a fence (twice) and relocate it to the new house. The grandparents spent more time than they bargained for corralling the kids, and we had generous donations of meals, packing supplies and emotional support to get us through the absolute mayhem.
Despite all the generous help and camaraderie built during the move, it’s not something I ever want to do again. I don’t know what the future holds, but I will be happy to stay in this house forever just to avoid the madness of moving again.
Now that we’re physically settled in the new place, it’s time to emotionally adjust.
The kids still aren’t totally on board, especially with all the snow keeping them indoors and away from meeting any neighborhood friends. I found the baby in the middle of the upstairs hallway the other night, laying on the floor, lost and totally confused. But they're all getting there.
And Zach and I are adjusting right along with them. We’re still reminding each other the right way to take home so we don’t end up at the old place. More often than not, I find my heart squeezing at the reminder of memories left behind.
Yet we’re settling in and making our mark on this new abode. Moving is one of those tough life necessities that are mostly unavoidable. But now that it’s over, I’ll be happy to never do it again.
Rachel Higginson is a married mom to five kids. She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has received a Utopia Award for Best Contemporary Romance and Penned Con Award for Best Novella Series. She lives in Omaha.