Today marks the one-year anniversary of owning our new home. *side-eyes that last, still-unpacked box that’s being used like a coffee table.*
While my husband and I are no strangers to moving, we were a little nervous about this one because it was our son’s first time moving. And he is on the Autism Spectrum.
As I know many of you are aware, individuals on the Spectrum struggle with change. They thrive on routine, structure, and familiarity, and something like moving house can be very traumatic. So suffice to say, we put a lot of thought, planning, and emotional energy into the transition.
- We applied for a school transfer that would allow him to stay in his same school, even though we were changing school zones.
- We booked an extra viewing of the house we were buying, just so we could bring him along and show him the house beforehand.
- We let him claim a bedroom on his tour.
- When he declared on his tour that he “don’t want to stay here,” we asked him questions and got to the bottom of it. (Turns out, he just didn’t want to move in with the owner’s cat. We promised him the cat would move away with her family, and it would just be us in the house!)
- We had many playdates at the playground closest to our new home. (The one that would become “our” playground after the move.)
- We drove by the new house several times in the weeks leading up to the move. We waved at our new house, and talked about how excited we were to live there.
- We reassured him that all of his favorite possessions would be making the move with us.
- We answered approximately 5,000 questions on that point every day. (Yes, the blue teddy bear can come… yes, the pink one too.)
- We packed a special box of his most special things. It didn’t move in the trailer. It moved in the car with us, and we unpacked it first.
- We prioritized unpacking and setting up his bedroom, so he had a safe comfortable space as quickly as possible.
I have to say, I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. But my son continues to surprise and delight me with his emotional depth, and kind heart. As we were leaving, I suggested we wave good-bye to our old house. As he waved, he said in a quiet voice, “It’s not your fault, little house.”
While I had been so concerned about his feelings, he was concerned for our house’s feelings!
So we paused. “That’s right,” I added, addressing our little home… the only one this beautiful boy had ever known. “It’s not your fault, little house. Thank you for being a good house. We are moving to a big house now, but we are going to give you to a new little family that will love you.”
Our son nodded and smiled. “Goodbye, little house. Thank you.”
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