Three years ago, we packed up and moved across the country. My husband and I decided that if we were ever going to have an opportunity to move to a coast, this was the time to do it, for many reasons, not the least of which was the pull towards personal growth and expansion for each and every one of my family members. We prayed for opportunity, and for God’s awesome will, and His hand in the whole works, and his design was evident in the entire process….from the offer on our house on the day we put it on the market, to the way we were able to disperse HALF of our household items to other families who would be able to use them, to finding our new home, pretty much right away, on a trip to look at houses in the new state. Now, I see His hand was evident even in the reactions from our family members when we told them we were moving. Their reactions were not good. They were not happy. But He protected our hearts, and steeled our resolve to grow and to blaze new frontiers, learn new things, and embark upon countless new endeavors. We felt guilty, but in our hearts we knew better, as it is our job in this life to break old destructive patterns, and to do every great big thing possible with this one life that we are given. We pray BIG. And every day, I am reminded of the need to pray bigger, and to be quite specific with God. He is a BIG GOD, and he deeply wants us to trust him with HUGE things!
What do we expect people to do or say when we tell them we are leaving the place we grew up, and all of our family, to head to a coast so my husband can pursue his career and we could start fresh? Do we want a party? Do we want a supportive smile and a rallying around? Yes, I think we probably do. One of my dearest friends, when she and her husband left the area to go to a new state to start their family, was given blessings by her parents and was told that they would support them however they could. And they have, for years now. Never tried to make her feel guilty; never implied that they would like to hold her back. I wished for the same, and we deserved the same, but I was deeply saddened by the attitudes and statements of those whom we held most dear. Most individuals or families are not quite as functional or happy as my friend’s family, it seems. After all, we love our extended family immensely, and they are the reason why we remained in the area that we remained in for so long. So, do folks normally get a good deal of support when they are moving away from family and loved ones? From those I’ve spoken to who’ve gone through similar….NOPE. It is heart breaking and isolating, and you pretty much feel like that’s how they want you to feel…like, that’s what you get for leaving us! Good luck, but we hope you feel super guilty and we aren’t going to pretend to make it easy on you! Because we think love equals dependence and that other people make us happy and we aren’t responsible for our own happiness! What we also got was some of the following: and yes, these are actual quotes.
“WHAT ABOUT ME?” (well, I love you dearly, and we can make this work if our attitudes are good…)
“Are you CRAZY?” (um…..is that subjective?)
“You will have a terrible time finding new friends.” (That’s just mean.)
“Why would you want to live in that state? ” (well, let’s see…ocean, mountains, low crime in the area, I dunno??????)
“I sure wouldn’t want to live in that state!”(And I’m secretly quite glad you’re not going to be there.)
“No seasons!” ( well, there are seasons, but only the three best ones.)
“Don’t you love your family?” (HAVE WE MET?)
“I will never understand you!” (I am not surprised, as you don’t even understand yourself.)
Do family and friends think about how this makes us feel, as we make one of the most difficult/exciting/huge/scary/earth shattering decisions of our lives? I don’t think so. I don’t think they really care. They are busy living their lives, and most of them don’t really realize how impactful their unkind words and lack of support can be. Like most, they are only thinking of themselves and how they will be impacted. Poeple forget that the tongue is sharper that the finest knife. And, some people are just mean, and endeavor very much to use their words to wound. If you have had a different experience with your family, and they were super supportive, I AM SO GLAD.
As that is how it should be.
God does not want us to hold onto that which we love, lock it up in a box, throw away the key and never wish growth and goodness for it. THAT IS NOT HEALTHY. . That is actually called “enmeshment,” a term that describes families where personal boundaries are diffused, and over-concern for others leads to a loss of autonomous development. There are a whole bunch of books on it, if you’d like to learn more, that’s a good place to start. Read them if you have a dysfunctional family, or if you know in your heart that you might. Study specifically about how it often trickles down from the matriarch, generation after generation. Then- you can grow and become who God wants you to be, and your family can get mad at you, too! (Kind of sarcastic, totally true.) God wants the husband to leave the mother, and cleave to the wife. He also wants the wife to leave the parents and cleave to the husband. It is BIBLICAL, people. But, unfortunately, most don’t care about that.
HONESTLY, I hope your family understands healthy separation and the meaning of LOVE. Because it is a whole ton easier when this is not a hurdle that needs to be climbed, jumped, burned, argued over repeatedly, revisited constantly, and then, hopefully, eventually, sunk with an anchor in the farthest depths of the darkest oceans. It’s like an alcoholic trying to break up with their drinking buddies…your family gets upset when you grow and find health and security and confidence and a plan. They want you to stay mired in the dysfunction. It’s not malicious (most of the time), it’s just all they know because they refuse to see the importance of growth or change, and choose to let fear rule. Other people cannot make you happy. As I tell my children all the time, “You sure make me feel happiness. But it is not your job, nor your responsibility, to make me happy.” There is a tremendous difference.
Once we made the plans to move, from the initial decision, to the listing, to the close, and the actual move, it was right around two months. (We prayed it would progress quickly and that the house would not hang out on the market too long- Be careful what you pray for!) I was anxious about many things. My heart was burdened with guilt over moving in the first place- see above. I was concerned about how I WOULD DO ALL OF THIS when my husband was working- as he was getting adjusted to a new position, learning his role, and (knowing him)-having his head in the game at home as much as humanly possible. I have a wonderful, humble, kind, respectful, handsome, loving and Godly husband. He is the actual best. He puts us first in Every. Single. Thing. He. Does.
One of things he was most excited about was that he would have more time with us, his little family, after our move. In his old position where we used to live, my husband commuted between 75 minutes and 120 minutes each way, dependent on the weather. This was an unfortunate state of affairs. He is not a complainer, but, dang it….this took a toll on him. It was just too much! And our kids were small. We needed him and he wanted to be with us more. And it’s dangerous! I-90 out of Chicago…how is this actually a legit road, that folks are supposed to remain alive while driving upon? Oh my stars and clovers….NO! Just STOP. I prayed every single day for God to bring him home safely. Three times he was rear-ended on that trip, one of those times the car was totaled. I can recall when they put the signs up, like five years ago, that the insane construction on that road would be done in 2016. I am TELLING YOU, when I head back next, I better not see as much as ONE road cone, closed lane, or Schneider egg…..
So, back to the “more time with us” piece. Our move meant that he would now have a 30 minute commute at most. So, he wanted to make the kids breakfast in the morning before he left, to help out as we got settled, and I unpacked the moving boxes all day. This was such a help and a blessing to us as a family, not only because he was here more, but, because due to the health issues I was struggling with, mornings were a bit tough for me with pain and aches as I rose, so I was pleased let him take over breakfast. He would make us eggs and sausage, cut up some fruit or add some nuts…he was really making it special for us, nourishing our bodies with a solid, healthy start to the morning and feeding our souls with his peaceful presence.
Fast forward three years and seven months- my darling husband is still cooking breakfast for us every single morning, with the exception of the occasional slow-paced Saturday morning where I will make grain-free pancakes or similar. He does this because he loves us. It is as simple was that. Those extra few minutes that he spends here in the morning mean so much to us, and to him. He just wants to be kind. He just wants to help. He is a good man. Like his father, and his grandfather. Character can be inherited or it can be learned. So it’s ok if you’re parents were not great or supportive examples…you still have hope. But, you have to do the hard work. There are no shortcuts!
So, for my dearest, on moving across the country, I have to say THANK YOU. Thank you for understanding what it is that we need to function optimally as a family, and for understanding so well how to love me. For knowing that it is, indeed, all about the little things. I know that not everything has been easy in the past few years, between health struggles and the growing pains of the many miles between us and our extended family, but there is nobody I would rather be figuring it all out with than YOU. Through three surgeries and one heck of a terrific struggle with our daughter’s health, we did it and have come out SO MUCH STRONGER! I look forward to the adventures yet to come. I am so incredibly excited! Who knows where the years will take us, but, thanks to our bold and brave steps, and a tremendous amount of hard work, I am no longer afraid. I know that we will be going wonderful places and doing amazing things, the likes of which we’ve not seen before. I am immensely grateful for all that we have done, and with God’s guidance, all that we are becoming. I am blissfully cherished. And I cherish you.
With love and the utmost of gratitude,
The Mint Pixie
For more of my thoughts and experiences on the importance of overcoming dysfunctional familial patterns, please see here.
All photos copyright the Mint Pixie, 2017.