When we announced our plans for the summer of 2013, we heard cries of, "What about all my friends?" and "We can't even go to the beach first?" We spoiled everything with one big, sweeping pronouncement: We're moving to England.
We didn't get to spend the summer splashing in the waves, pounding down the boardwalk, lounging on a lake, and visiting family and friends. We spent it packing our house, saying incredibly sad good-byes to family and friends, cramming a family of five into a two-bedroom flat, and eventually settling into a new house… with no household goods. Clearly, I'm not winning any parenting awards this summer.
I get it. Really I do. If I was nine years old and starting to really develop close friendships and looking forward to what summer entailed, I'd be bummed out to spend it shuffling between an empty house, a cramped apartment, and a new (but still empty) house.
For the most part, the kids have managed the changes and adjustments well, considering what a massive change it really is. They've coped with temperamental WIFI, grilled chicken skewers instead of chicken nuggets, and a rash that may (or may not) have been caused by bed bugs. At least we have a sense of humor.
Of course, there are days that they hate us for ruining their summer, and their lives, by making them move. There's no talking them down when they're worked up about it. We just let them get on with it. I can't make them understand that it's better that we did it now than when they're 16 and leaving their boyfriend and their car, too.
But despite the occasional outbursts, I feel fairly confident that the girls won't look back on this as the worst summer of their lives. We might have skipped our traditional week at Ocean City, Maryland, but we drove to Tynemouth to see a castle and let them take a dip in the North Sea. There was no boat trip out on the Chesapeake Bay. We flew across the Atlantic and let the girls stay up watching movies for almost the entire overnight flight (yes, we regretted it later, but have you ever tried forcing a child to go to sleep on a plane?). We missed out on Grandma's pool. We made do splashing in a paddling pool at the massive playground just down the road. We didn't make it to the cool Camelot-themed playground near Grandpa's house. We did, however, visit a 12th century abbey ruin. It's a trade-off, I suppose.
We've survived the summer.
Now, could someone else do me a favor and tell them they'll be wearing uniforms this year and their toys and bedroom furniture probably won't be here for another three weeks? I'll just be in that corner over there drinking a pint.
Kelly Herdrich is a Yahoo! Shine Parenting Guru. When she's not traveling the globe with husband and three daughters, she's (occasionally) blogging, (regularly) designing knitwear, and (constantly) promoting her first novel. She (clearly) isn't kidding about that beer.