Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New address and musings on uprooting a child

We finally got word of where we will be living for the next few months in Washington, DC. High time, you know, since we are moving there in 5 days!!! We are moving to Ballston, Arlington, VA in a spectacular high-rise. So, let me run you through our agenda the next few days:
Thursday--we leave Bulgaria and land in NYC that same night. The State Department graciously allows its new hires to stay at a hotel during the pack-out of their precious crappola and so we are going to the W Hotel at Union Square. Oh yeah! I wonder if they provide cribs for toddlers and whether those are also black and supercool
Friday--bright and early we go to our apartment to compile select above-mentioned crappola, pile it up in the middle of our living room for the State Department movers who will come to pack us at lunch. Since said crappola will arrive at our new place in a week or two, we must bring necessities like clothing with us. That means we will be spending Friday night packing our miniscule car with clothes and toddler books.
Saturday morning--the Diplomat takes the Fat Cat to the vet to beg for some mild sedative for him. Fat Cat does not take travel lightly--to make a (rather smelly) point how much he dislikes being careened around in the car, he typically performs some amusing form of physiological function in his carrier. He couples that with heavy hyperventilation and hissing. Thus, besides being smothered by piles of my clothing and shoes in the car, the Diplomat will also have the dubious pleasure of making the 5 hour drive from NYC to DC together with Fat Cat that day. Son and I will take the 45 min plane shuttle to National airport and will land in Washington, DC in perfect comfort and grace (well, actually, I am not so sure about the grace part given Son's natural propensity to throw magnanimous tantrums).
Saturday evening--possibly sending the police and the fire department to rescue the Diplomat from the smelly claws of the Fat Cat who chewed through his plastic carrier in the passenger seat of the Saab.
Sunday--welcome BBQ for the new class of freshly-minted diplomats. New life begins in earnest.

Which takes me to my other thought. I have been thinking about this for some time now and still have not reached any conclusions. I am scared about the move. Not about the move per se but about how Son will take it. Despite his magnanimous tantrums, Son is an extraordinarily sunny and loveable child, very active and boisterous and exceedingly friendly. He loves playing with other children and always tries to make friends. He loved his daycare in NYC and at times even refused to leave it when I went to pick him up. HA! So, I guess he will adjust to his new surroundings easily and won't suffer too much. And yet, I worry and I am scared. Who is to say what impact such uprooting has on our toddlers later in life?
Naturally, entering the Foreign Service life, we will move every 2-3 years to a new place, and Son will lose friends all the time that way. On the other hand, I suppose that if one grows up living the nomadic diplomatic life, one does not suffer that much from it because it seems fairly natural to him. I hear many stories from veterans in the Service whose children thrive and enjoy the travel. I can only hope that Son will feel that way. And yet I worry. That is a mother's prerogative.


  1. It's only normal to worry but your son will be OK. Our daughter was six when we moved to DC, so we are not comparing apples to apples but she was/is also at an age when friendships are a little more meaningful and she's doing fine. We made a big deal out of moving to DC for months before the actual move, so she was eagerly anticipating it. Does she miss her friends back in Fl? Sure, she does but we stayed in touch with her bestest buddies via Skype and facebook. She's also a very social child and quickly made friends all over Oakwood Falls Church and at her new school, so she's loving it.

    Kids pick up on our emotions, so if we are apprehensive about something, they may be to. If we are excited, they'll more than likely pick up the excitement. I know your son is little but try to get him excited about all the cool things he will get to see and do in DC. Like you, we have family (from my hubby's side) in the area, so we used the proximity to cousins as a selling point too and it worked.

    Our daughter loves little kids and I am sure she'd love to meet your son. We should do a play date when you get settled.

  2. In fact my son, i.e. the Diplomat and daughter had to move every 5 to 7 years whenever I shifted as part of my Central Banking service. Till they moved to hostel for graduation studies they underwent these acquiring, losing and fresh acquisition of friends for almost fifteen years. I do not know whether they enjoyed it or not, but they survived through. I never looked at this aspect, but totally focussed only on my career and service. This is a tender emotional aspect you have raised now, which makes me feel guilty for overlooking the family's emotional disturbance on such dislocation/relocation. Perhaps my wife managed it all, giving up her teaching career! I am a typical Indian husband, who always takes things for granted in the family. your writings have made me think, I am learning to balance the life, though late. Who said'Son is the Father of the Man'! It may be true!

  3. It’s Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)