Last week, my daughter was a bit sad. Since relocating to Westchester County, she’s had her good days and her bad days, and was going through an “I miss my old house” phase.
“I want to go home,” she’d say.
“Home is where your family is,” I’d tell her, stroking her cheek, with complete empathy.
The past year has been filled with changes, some good, and some a little more challenging than others. New home, new schools, new friends and new routines make for some serious adjusting. On occasion, we all still miss our old neighborhood and long for time with our best buds. Even though we realize our relocation was a good thing, it can be difficult to put the past behind us and embrace the future.
As a child, I moved many, many, many times and over the years I became used to change. I learned to look at the more positive aspects of the experience. It became an adventure. But one morning, as I was preparing for yet another day of writing, cleaning, picking up and dropping off, I felt an emotional tug--just as my daughter had.
I guess I was a bit nostalgic, too.
When we first knew we were heading to Westchester County, I pulled out two copies of, “I’ve Got A New Home: An activity book for kids on the move,” and handed one to each of my kids, in hopes of making the transition an easier one.
Remembering what I experienced as a child, I created the activity book to help kids learn to express their feelings, get organized, feel a little more in control, secure, and positive--and even maintain long distance relationships. They can write and draw about the memories of the home they’ll leave behind and then fill pages with fresh experiences from the new place.
Adjusting to a move is an involved process. It takes time. So she began by adding pictures of our old house, her old friends, and stories that made great memories. She let herself feel her feelings.
But the real work of moving comes when you're unpacked, and suddenly feel like you’ve started all over again. That’s the challenging part. Turning to a new chapter.
But we’ve been lucky.
For example, that morning, just as the emotional tug made its appearance and I began to feel a bit sad, and a tad bored, the phone rang. It was my new friend, Amy, and she had an idea—for an adventure.
I turned to my daughter and smiled.
“Here we go,” I said.
“Where to?” she asked.
“To make memories,” I replied, happily.
We got in our friend’s car and she drove us to a place we’ve never been before, for a beautiful brunch at The Inn at Bedford Post, in Bedford, NY. The three of us enjoyed good food and good company, followed by a walk through a garden. It was the perfect memory to add to our books, and keep in our hearts. Thank you new friend.
And so it begins.
Taryn Grimes-Herbert is the author of the I’ve Got character-building book series for children, and was 2010’s Woman of Achievement in the Arts Honoree for Orange County, NY. Calling upon her professional acting experience on Broadway, film and television, she speaks out and takes her books into classrooms hoping to help kids build character, develop empathy and learn to create a positive future through creative dramatics activities.