Living the Moving-Mom Life

One of my favorite friends Rebecca is moving away. She gave me the sad news about a week ago. I knew it would eventually happen. It’s just the nature of our lives as trailing spouses, “relos”. We’re here for a while. Then when we are moved on when our spouses change jobs.

Babies and Best Practices

Earlier this week our kids had a school in-service day. So Rebecca and I herded our broods to McDonalds Play Land. Though it was great to get together, the play date seemed sad, like a bookend of our intertwined lives.

We met about nine years ago when we were both new to babies and the area. Rebecca hailed from California and I from Atlanta. I was jumping head-first into the life of an at-home-mom — and loving it. My connections to my financial-analyst job were severed by the distance of the move. Rebecca would still work part-time for her company before taking a buy-out. After that, she pursued her dream, teaching as an adjunct professor and spending more time with her kids. I started writing. She eventually had four kids. (God bless her.) I had two.

Babies, how to feed them, burp them and not let them drive us crazy was the grist of our conversations. We shared all the knowledge we could find and every hard-won, trial-and-error lesson. We navigated our changing roles and landscape together, from where to get good drive-thru coffee to how to feel appreciated as an at-home mom. It was the best of times and it flew.

The Moving Scene

This week, at McDonalds, Rebecca was stressed. We talked about her plans while the kids played. Moving isn’t easy. It’s a full-time job from when you find out until six months after you unpack. First you have to find a community, then a home, then register for schools, find doctors and more. Plus if you work outside of the home, there’s finding a new job, too. And, not to forget, all the work of untangling yourself from your current life.

“I wish I could just close my eyes and wake up when it’s June,” Rebecca said.

“Right,” I said. “You’ll wake up right here.”

For the trailing spouse moving is all about the details.

“I not only want a good school, anymore,” Rebecca said. “I want a school with a strings program for Nicky and speech therapy for Eli.”

Rebecca will have to do tons of research, make decisions and, of course, second guess herself. (It’s just part of moving.)

No Friend Left Behind

There are so many things in our current life we take for granted — the things that make up a quality life. We landed here in a wonderful small community beside big-city amenities. The other day, I was at the library signing the kids up for a program. Before I could say their names the librarian was writing them down.

It touched me. And I thanked them.

Maybe it’s because we’re on some Top 10 Most Loudest Humans list in the back somewhere. But anyway, it was nice. Leaving can be hard. Very hard.

All in all, I choose to look on the bright side of the rootless life. I now have a global network of friends, Cinda in China, Margery in Austin, Kyle in New Jersey, Claudia in California and soon Rebecca in Eastern Ohio. Out in the world, there’s a web of like-minded moms, a band of strong women wrapping the planet. We keep in touch through blogs, emails, flickr and facebook. As they grow in experiences, I grow too.

In the end, maybe feeling like you belong isn’t really about a place. Maybe it’s about knowing that someone knows you. Sees you. Recognizes you and cares. And maybe that’s the true definition of a home.