We recently relocated, from Melbourne to the Gold Coast. When you tell people you're making such a big move, there is usually genuine excitement shared. At least in my experience anyway. Friends and extended family have known about my longing to live near the sea, and be closer to my family for quite some time, so many a response was of genuine joy that we were finally making the big move. A decision that was made early last year - you know, post Christmas with the new year stretched out in front of us like a huge piece of blank paper just waiting to be coloured on. God, I love those first few weeks. Renewed energy, a clean slate, but still a slowness about everything during the holidays. When anything is possible and this will be THE year that we finally do all the things we've been meaning to.. and then you blink and it's APRIL.
Late one night I asked my husband - what do we want? What are our goals? Are you HAPPY? What are we working towards? What are we waiting for? Before our kids came along, the goals were so clear. Find a good job, fall in love, get married, save enough money to buy a house, have babies. And then.. what? We did all those things - wonderful things - and then the monotony of daily life and raising three small children blurs your vision a little and the goals become something much further away. But then I stopped and thought - what ARE the goals? I'm not even sure what they are anymore? We were just existing. A lovely life indeed - but just going through the motions. A beautiful, big home - the kids in a wonderful school and kindy - both my husband and I (mostly) happy at work - ample friends and family - money in the bank - freedom to do most of the things we wanted to do. But I still felt like there was a better life for us somewhere else.
I left my proper office job when we had our daughter, going on nine years ago. We've lived a simple life for me to be able to stay home with the kids as we've added to our brood, and I am forever grateful for that. During those early years, they say the days are long but the years are short. And it could not be more true. We had three in just under three and a half years and it was right for us. Busy, sure. People thought we were a bit nuts but I've never been too concerned by what other people think. Now our eldest is edging closer to double digits and our youngest preparing for school next year, our little world has shifted. Life is no easier or harder than when they were babies - the challenges just present themselves in a different way. And if I'm honest, I think I was a better mother to them as babies. Big personalities and confident spirits are to be encouraged and admired - but they give challenge a whole new meaning when parenting. I don't think I was a very patient person last year and the overwhelm of motherhood swallowed me a few times just to prove its point. I was listening (and sometimes just holding on for dear life), but I was definitely listening.
Everything just felt a bit stuck. Like we'd been treading water for too long and our arms and legs would soon fail us. Something had to change. So we changed it.
Selling the house, signing exit forms from school, packing up the house, farewelling friends. Even though I knew we were making the right choice to move, I felt pangs of fear dotted through the whole year of preparation. Then I'd give myself a pep talk to pull my head in and I was fine again. As long as we're together, we'll be fine.
I thought once we'd moved, everything would feel instantly fresh and new, comfortable and familiar given we had been holidaying on the Gold Coast regularly since my parents moved up nearly thirteen years ago. But it just didn't. I couldn't work it out. All I could think about was all the wonderful things we'd left behind in Melbourne. I couldn't for the life of me, remember any of the reasons we had chosen to move away. And I was sure there had been a lengthy list. Even as I write this, I can feel the anxiety of questioning why had we done this? The kids' up and down struggle at school those first few weeks was something we'd never experienced. And - very gratefully - something that disappeared quickly but not without much self doubt and useless pondering as the mother, carer, keeper of sanity and happy children. The tears would fall freely during my evening shower and I felt better for it afterwards. Just once I felt so overwhelmed, explaining what was going on in my head to my poor husband, sobbing into his chest, hearing my own voice and wondering why I didn't sound like me.
Change is hard. I always thought I was good at change. Until we moved. And then the universe said, Yes Tahnee - you are very good at SMALL change. But totally shit at BIG change. Just like everyone else. Because change is HARD. And we are creatures of habit. And those two things really don't mix.
I am happy to say, things now feel like a new normal. The second half of term brought with it happy, settled children - and in turn - a much more settled mother and wife. Our days are warmer and lighter, and days by the sea as wonderful and frequent as I had hoped. This move has taught me a myriad of things I cannot find the right words for.. but that old friend, Time, seems to step in right when we need - reminding me that he will heal most things if you leave him in charge long enough.