Month: April 2018

The Beginning of Goodbyes

Another Good-bye

We have another big transition looming — we’re leaving Nassau, the Bahamas, after making it our home for three years.

I feel like I’m in a good place. I’m ready for the change, and at the same time not longing for it. I’m preparing, but not rushing to be gone. Each day I’m content, happy to be here — but the days are going by too quickly.

I’ve started my goodbyes.

We’ve moved frequently enough for me to know that I start withdrawing from people and my regular routine about six months before we move. This time I very consciously chose to not think about move logistics or disengage from life here that early. I compartmentalized — even scheduled it on my calendar! — I won’t start planning the move until April.

Yet, life intervened and a series of mild illnesses and guests started in January and disrupted our normal routines. In spite of my planning, we did start withdrawing from our regular routine about six months before the move.

 

Building a RAFT

One of the strategies I’ve leaned on for helping my kids (and myself!) through transitions is TCK pioneer and sociologist David Pollack’s strategy of  “Building a RAFT” (pp. 77-78)I first read about this nearly two decades ago by Jean Larson in the book Raising Resilient MKs <– you can get a free copy is this great resource! (In fact, I first blogged about Building a Raft in 2005 when we getting ready to leave Kyiv the first time.)

As a mom in a family that frequently moves, I really prioritize helping to nurture each family member through transitions. Each of us, in our own way, will go through the ups and downs of moving internally. I can’t weather the storm for them. But I can be with them, and help them build that raft that will help them navigate the rapids of this river of change.

Frequent travelers know, “put on your own oxygen mask first” — I am well aware that I’m not exempt from the challenges of moving. Yet I’ve found that helping my kids process their transitions in the move helps me process my own.

 

What is this RAFT?

Reconciliation
Affirmation
Farewells
Think Ahead

 

 

In the coming days, I’ll be writing more about what RAFTing looks like in our family, especially for our teens.  And I’m interested in what you’ve found helpful for your family when saying goodbyes. . . But it is time for me to get off the laptop where I’m pondering the emotional side of moving, and start sorting through stuff and prep for the material side of moving.

 

Useful acronymns:
MKs – Missionary Kids
TCKs – Third Culture Kids (Growing up outside of their passport country, like many military, diplomat, and multinational corporation families)
PCS – Permanent Change of Station, i.e., moving

 

Useful Resources:
Raising Resilient MKs – Physical Book
Raising Resilient MKs – Free, Ebook
Building a RAFT, Marilyn Gardner

 

Stages of PCS’ing

Adrienne Hedger captures the zeitgeist of  spring cleaning, but for me it sums up PCS’ing season.  PCS is one of the myriad military acronyms which bleed over into my life — Permanent Change of Station.

Spring Cleaning! Adrienne Hedger

It’s April. We pack out and the kids and I leave in June. Hubby follows in July.

I actually scheduled on my calendar that I would only prep for the move starting in July.  I didn’t want to focus on leaving too soon. I wanted to be present, in the moment, in this place. . .   Yes, goodbyes and move logistics take time, but like many big tasks, they expand to fit the space I give them.

Now it is the end of April, and move prep is in full swing. We did a pre-move inspection and are repairing the odds and ends around the house that are normal wear and tear for a family of eight (but not normal wear and tear for a typical renter!)  We’re sorting through clothes, books, misc. . .  I’m at the point at which part of me wouldn’t mind if our container slipped to the bottom of the ocean and we had no more things.  And then I see our family photos, special artwork, and other sentimental items and I know that isn’t really what I want.

In addition to the physical preparations, we are in the midst of the emotional and relational preparations.  Those are a bit more complicated.  I’ll write more on that and Building a Raft later.

But for now, it’s time for another cup of coffee, harnessing my motivation, and culling more of possessions to get under 7200lbs before we pack out.