What a week it has been! They say moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do. So where does packing up a house into storage whilst also packing for a year long trip to Europe in a caravan come on the stress-ometer? Pretty high I would guess!
The tension and pressure in our house had been building all week, and to be fair for the week before as well. As furniture began to disappear to the container and decisions had to be made about which of the children’s toys would be making the journey with us and which would be staying behind, the girls began to feel more and more unsettled. There were tears and the need for extra hugs and reassurance. One of them complained “I don’t want to go on the trip any more!” and we were all tired and not at our best.
“This is just an uncomfortable time that we have to get through” we explained. “Once we have moved out into our caravan, things will settle down again” we reassured. And they replied with “we just want everything to be normal again!”
When we had discussed as a family the possibility of doing this trip, one of the things that the girls were concerned about was that they didn’t want to leave our house. They liked it. They felt safe and secure there. After all, they had both lived there since they were born. But then we explained that it wasn’t the building that made them feel that way, but our presence in it and the familiarity of all our pictures, furniture and belongings all around them. We reassured them that we would be keeping all of those things and we would surround ourselves with them again when we came home. Andy told them “If you took the roof off our house and turned it upside down, then everything that falls out is what we would keep.” Once they realised that, they were happy with the idea. And as we prepare to leave, it was E who expressed just exactly how this had played out for her. She observed that once we took all of our pictures off the wall, the house had stopped feeling like our home. Unfortunately at that moment in time it had made her feel more unsettled than ever as there was nothing familiar to cling to. She was way out of her comfort zone and deep within her challenge zone.
But then an amazing thing happened. When we picked them up and took them to the campsite where we had set up the caravan and made up their beds, they were so excited. All of the stress and tension of the last few weeks melted away and they couldn’t wait to move in properly and organise their clothes and toys in the cupboards. They recognised that it was the upheaval of moving that had unsettled them and they were looking forward to the trip once again.
Of course, there will still be challenges, there will still be hard days, but at least this is one hurdle we have now cleared.
So, now the storage container is FULL and we have moved into our caravan. The girls have one week left at school and then our adventure will officially start.