Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than any magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration. -Charles Dickens
Countless acquaintances and many friends have asked how the past month has been, and how my family is handling the huge changes we’re facing moving from Europe back to Ohio in the United States. We lived in Prague, Czech Republic, for nearly four years for my husband’s job. During that time, we grew in so many ways as individuals and as a family. We traveled extensively by car (25 countries), we saw as much and absorbed as much and enjoyed as much as we possibly could. It was a unique phase of life, one of opportunity for which we all are grateful. But now that we are back in the States, I find myself thinking on matters of the heart. I thought I’d share about the transition here …
Growing up, my family moved all over the US, from the deep south to the northeast and back and around again. I have mixed memories, but try to index back to the positive and consistent things I had: my brother and our dog. My mother coped by yelling; the more we moved, the more frequent the outbursts, unfortunately. My father coped by working; the more we moved, the more he worked, unfortunately. I always vowed I wouldn’t move when I was an adult. I wouldn’t do that to my children. But the longer I’ve lived the more I’ve come to realize a more important factor above whether or not a moving van takes our things to a different location. That most important thing, especially during times of transition, is the importance of HOME.
HOME needs to be a safe place, where we can be ourselves and be accepted for being ourselves, without fear of criticism. HOME isn’t always a place, as in a house, but it is a mentality that can and must be carried throughout hours and days. HOME is a treasure.
A few of my values about the importance of home:
- I believe in treating each other with kindness and respect.
- I believe in listening, helping when needed, offering a long hug when someone is hurting.
- When someone does something we don’t like or appreciate, we don’t lash out, but instead still treat each other with kindness and respect.
- When we’re hungry or tired or irritable, we share how we feel and take needed space, but we still treat each other with kindness and respect.
- When we’re angry, we count to ten and use words to help articulate what upsets us, and still treat each other with kindness and respect.
Of course, these are values that are often broken. You can bet that these don’t always work or help, even the mom :), but at least we all know the core value we share at home: that we all are human beings struggling to make our way through life who belong to each other and support each other, and believe in treating each other with kindness and respect.
So, to answer the question: How is the transition going for me and my family?
- Well, we’ve been living in a hotel room for the last several weeks, and will be elated to soon be in our new (used, of course) house.
- My sons are keeping their chins up, making friends, acclimating to a much more rigorous school with much more challenging homework and are still smiling … most of the time, and I must add, with the help of a generous dose of basketball.
- My husband is a saint who packed up the house, sold the cars (both in a very adverse country), and traveled for work to finish up projects all over Europe in the meantime. I love him dearly and deeply. I can’t wait to have him home.
- The dog and cat have been living in a pet hotel for the past several weeks, and we’ve been visiting them daily for walks and snuggles.
- And me? Well, I’m ready to have a writing chair and time to sit my bottom in it on a daily basis. My work-in-progress novel is calling. I believe the time and mental space will come, soon. For now, I’m enjoying the US again, immensely.
As with the rest of life, every day is tough and challenging, and people can be cruel. It happens, often. Believe me. But, the transition and move is going well. Moving can solidify a family and home. It is, I believe, for us. I attribute it to a solid foundation of love, built with kindness and respect, that make up a safe place called HOME.