I imagine there are worse things than moving with children. Being buried alive, contracting giardia, getting stuck in spinning class behind the person who ate onions and garlic for dinner last night--these are all worse than moving with children. Moving with children is a special blend of punishment, though, mixing chaos with emotions, pouring it over the ice of having to clean everything, and not being able to find the umbrella for your drink because someone probably packed it with the snorkeling gear. We are nearly at the end of our move, the second move we have made with children, and I have come to recognize that, mirroring the 5 stages of grief, there are
The 5 stages of moving:
1. The Nostalgic Stage You spend precious time gathering and then reflecting on the significance of each possession, thinking about the time you bought that grass skirt and coconut bra on your Hawaiian honeymoon. Nevermind that you will never again be the size you were on your honeymoon. This skirt/coconut ensemble is to be an heirloom, treasured by generations to come! It shall be folded and wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a hope chest, layered between memories and rainbows and lucky rabbit feet.
2. The Selling Stage You have set aside a pile of items you believe to be of great value, that will sell high on e-bay or at a premium on craigslist. You are overjoyed to be doing this because you will net so much money, which you will help defray your moving costs! You have staged each Laura Ashley bedspread in a romantic environment with soft lighting and are just waiting for that big offer to come through!
3. The Minimalist Stage You are relishing this newfound simplicity as you prepare for this move. You find it so refreshing to live minimally, with the majority of your belongings now packed away and neatly marked with the name of the room into which they will be unloaded in your new domicile. You are feeling so much lighter! You are practically Thoreau!
4. The Resistance Stage Your children are starting to resent all their toys being packed away. All of craigslist is flaking out on you, and Laura Ashley didn't even get one bid on e-bay!? The more boxes you pack, the more your yet-to-be-packed stuff seems to multiply. You are starting to lose memory of what has been packed and what you haven't packed and what you actually own or what you gave away through craigslist. You do random headcounts throughout the day just to make sure your children who had taken to playing in boxes aren't actually sealed in.
5. The 'I don't give a flying UHaul' stage You are freaking out. It seems Oriental Trading has exploded in every drawer, with useless trash made in China standing in the way of your move. You have taken to just throwing random crap into any box, bag, or Barbie dreamhouse that will contain it. You are convinced your sanity is buried somewhere deep, within the Christmas decorations, perhaps? Or was it with the coconut bra? Your spouse says, We are not moving the crazy with us, so you throw everything away, vowing to recycle for the rest of your life to reduce the huge carbon footprint you have just made on the way to the landfill. In the end, you move. And there you are, in a new place with all your old stuff. Join us next time for "the 5 stages of moving in." Right now, we're still on stage 1: denial.