Good friends who live in the Midwest recently learned that layoffs are imminent, and they are looking at yet another move to another company, another town, another home. I’ve lost track of how many companies they’ve worked for over the years, but they’ve changed states at least two times since their kids were born, and in a few months, they’ll be packing up and making their way across another border.
Losing a job, uprooting from a community, managing all of the stresses that come with a move of any size or distance…my heart goes out to them. Add to that the difficulties for their now-teenage children. After the last move, their sons, who were sports stars in their former town, had to try to quickly prove themselves to new coaches (with mixed success). My friend, who has always been involved with her kids’ schools, was turned away from serving on the PTA board (talk about small town politics). Their daughter had to navigate new cliques. Now they’re going to do it all again.
My heart goes out to them, and then I say a little prayer of gratitude that we don’t have kids. If, God forbid, we are one day victims of budget reforms or downsizing and have to move to take new jobs, we could go anywhere in the world. Certainly, it would be painful to say good-bye to friends and nearby family, and it would break my heart to leave the city we love so much, but we could do it. We would make it work, without the limitations and challenges parents face, such as having to find a house near the right schools, or yanking a hormonal teenager away from her friends, or worrying that the painful choices we sometimes have to make are hurting the people we love the most.
Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s found that her book collection has grown every time she’s had to pack for a move.