I got a label maker a few weeks ago. I was out shopping for something, saw that it was on sale, and picked it up without consulting Martin, which is saying a lot. I normally do give him a call before such a purchase … not because I need his approval (as if), but because he is usually able to look up and provide a coupon code for further savings over the phone. He’s a lot more efficient and personalized than any coupon or finance app out there, and there’s that German accent, too.
In the past, I labeled using my scrapbook supplies: plain stickers, markers, and my swirly penmanship, and it was fine. But something spurred me to buy this label machine on impulse, and I did it.
Good thing, because a few days later, my official work orders for my new job in Germany arrived. After months and months and months of waiting, these documents finally allowed Martin and me to really plan our move and secure dates of departure. I immediately began “The Book” — a binder full of checklists, papers, a calendar, and other important documents — and began labeling everything. It’s so pretty and unified, I sometimes pull out The Book just to show it off like artwork.
That is, when I have the time to do such gloating.
Time is at a premium these days. Things are moving along fast. We knew that it would. This isn’t our first international move. But it’s the first international move with three children and three pets, and a huge life to uproot and carry over across the ocean. And then there’s the house we’ll keep here, and a vehicle to ship over there. A flurry of paperwork and appointments and I’m labeling everything left and right. Every morning, Martin and I huddle over The Book and review our calendar to make sure things are on track. Every day, there are at least three items to check off, if not more.
I love this flurry of activity. I love having everything neatly labeled and categorized into segments, especially when everything else about our life and lifestyle is in a state of flux. I have something tangible, proof that there is order in all of this, and that things are moving along as they should.
How I feel about all of this, though, is hard to label.
While my emotions aren’t THAT extreme, I find myself waffling between hyper excitement (Ohmygod … we’re moving to Germany!!!) to melancholy sadness (I am really going to miss this house/neighborhood…) to an occasional feeling of doubt (Is all this disruption and upheaval really the right thing for the family?) to gratefulness (I can’t believe this is happening) back to joyful elation for our future (Ohmygod … we’re moving to GERMANY!!!).
Such a whirlwind, right?
And I’m aware that as the mother here, I set the tone for everyone else, especially the kids. This process is so new to them, and it’s amazing to me to witness how they are processing all of this, too. For Miss C, she’s got age and experience on her side. She’s moved twice before. The younger two, however, have never lived anywhere else, and they don’t yet have the life experience to comprehend all the changes in store for them. But all three of them are trying their best to help and sort through the things we own and the feelings we feel. Every day, Martin and I make sure to talk with them — to really sit down and talk with them — and answer their questions, and prepare them for the days and weeks ahead.
And we are all about the memory-making in the time we have left here. We took the girls to visit with Santa right after Thanksgiving, and he definitely took note when they told him about the move to Germany. Apparently, he had St. Nick deliver their Christmas gifts on the same night St. Nick fills the boots of European children. Santa left a note explaining everything. The kids went to bed that Friday night with the family room all a mess, like usual. But when they woke up the next morning, the room had been transformed.
Of course, I captured it all on video.
And in our oven were our neighbor Marlene’s cinnamon rolls. Every year, she bakes them for all the neighbors and they’ve been our Christmas morning breakfast every year since 2008. When she learned of Santa’s plans, she agreed to bake a special batch just for us. Even though Martin and I stayed up SUPER late (early?) to welcome St. Nick, it was totally worth it seeing the kids react as they did. A good reminder that even when things are super busy and moving super fast, there’s always time to do something sweet as a family. Always.