I’ve never told you guys how I handled the kids during our years-long foreclosure drama, have I?
My bad. Totally my bad.
Ugh. I can’t decide if I should go with some good music while I write today or Dave Ramsey (I hate even saying the name because I’m really not trying to make him a keyword. I’m not doing the plan unless you consider a Hot Pocket the same as Pizza because other than some Oregano and Basil they’re completely different.)
I’m listening to KMJM Classic Country 1360 on iHeartRadio. If you like country, check it out. I don’t often like country but when I do I want a very specific kind and this station has it.
Okay, so back to foreclosure. See, I’m not good at talking about this even though doing it was the most planned thing I’ve ever done.
I told my girls two YEARS before we moved that we were moving. I just kind of dropped it that we’d be moving in two years. They were 5 & 6 at the time and didn’t really process it very well but it was sitting there in their little brains. I would bring it up every 3-6 months. Totally casual but absolutely sure they heard what I said so it couldn’t leave their minds entirely but also to make sure they knew mommy and daddy had this under control and knew it was coming and did it on purpose.
When our timeline changed drastically from April 2015 to November 2014 they had a moment where they felt unsure and insecure. It broke my heart. I explained what happened (an investor purchased the property because they think it’s a nice area because they don’t have kids) and my kids, after a few days, were right as rain again.
The key was being consistent. I told them the things we knew were true. Nice schools. Friends and family in the area. We would all be together and it would be an adventure. I focused on adventure and how we were like explorers and we were going to learn new things and find great places. I referenced Dora because we were explorers. I referenced video games because we were in charge of our own lives like little avatars.
The very most important thing? I never showed fear. I may have been throwing up from fear and stress. I might have had too much wine trying to get through the awful feelings and thoughts but for my kids? I was Wonder Woman taking charge and solving problems. See daddy going to work? He’s working to pay the rent on our apartment we’re going to move to! Such a good daddy! He loves us so much!
Focus on the strength of the father the children can count on. Be a body to snuggle with if the children feel scared. Strength is the perception I was selling and I sold it consistently.
You guys already know consistency is the key to everything, right? I think the only reason this whole thing worked as well as it did for the kids is I never showed fear to them. I waited until I was in bed at night to cry silently into my pillow. I waited until they were outside to vomit while looking at the Craigslist ads for places to live.
Mr. Brickie was there for me and I was there for him so we could be there as a united front to the children. Also, I basically told no one else (except you) what was going on because I didn’t want anyone to have a chance to good-naturedly ask a question that could shatter my children’s world. We fed them the questions in subtle ways so they would come to us with concerns we had answers to.
It was a Machiavelli-level production. I honestly watched old Darren Brown videos to get my technique just right for planting questions and words into my children’s minds.
I don’t care. It worked.
Not only did it work but the kids have told me about a hundred times in the last month how much happier they are here. That didn’t require any manipulation. This town is perfect for us. Polite people, small-town feel. It’s amazing.
Over a thousand square feet of apartment (all original hardwood floors including a basement with washer & dryer) for $775/mo.? You’re singing the song of my people, for sure. A landlord that has no problem with painting and pictures and shelves because, as he said, “I want you to make it your home.”
While we did end up in a fantastic place compared to where we thought we would end up, even if we were in that dark, creepy basement apartment we looked at it would still be an adventure of a different kind and one we would eventually move away from to bigger and better places.
The fact that we can look at this place and say, “No. We will stay here longer than just a while.” makes things easier in the long run but the transition would have been exactly the same.