People thought we were a little insane when we planned on having two kids under two. Even I thought we were a little crazy after our second was born and I was still nursing our first.
A few months after her birth we decided that it was time actually to make that cross country move we had been hinting about for years.
At that point, I realized we must have lost our minds… A high needs 21 months old, an EBF 5-month-old, a (small) apartment of stuff, a large cat and two adults, NYC to Sacramento? I never did like to do anything the easy way!
I used to love the hustle of NYC, but that started to change once Cesar and I had our first child. We tried to make it work there but after our second child, it started to become impossible, physically, mentally and financially.
My family had been asking us to move nearer them in California for years, and we just kept pushing it off. And then our lease was up again, and it was then or never: either we cut the cord with our beloved city or we signed ourselves over to another year of constant financial worry and around-the-clock working.
Everything I worried about losing by leaving NYC was outweighed by the positives that California would bring, so we decided just to go for it… Sayonara NYC, hola Sacramento!
Cesar and I have impulsively moved to different countries in the past, so across the country didn’t faze us too much. However, making the decision didn’t end up being the hardest part of the journey!
Ever had to re-organize a decade of life in just a few weeks? With two very small and needy kids and a partner who can’t take a second off of work? Oh and on a tight budget too…
I started by making a mile long list of everything that we had to do, and just checking through each item one by one. Even though I have worked in some shape or form of customer service all of my life, I have always had a real hatred of engaging with people on the phone.
So you can imagine how overjoyed I was to have to call a million moving companies to get a quote… And call doctors, insurances, landlords, banks, utility companies. Pack! Sell things that we don’t want to take with us! Donate things! Book flights for us all, including Joey Ramone, the cat. And anyone with kids knows how hard it is actual to talk on the phone with two small kids around – they tend to act up as soon as you are taken off hold, every single time.
In the end, my mother helped to figure out some of the logistics such as flights, and my phone pinged at me non-stop with reminders, appointments and things that I had forgotten. Friends pitched in to keep an eye on the kids while I packed and planned and hid in the bathroom for a moment of quiet.
Packing was the worst. How on earth we fitted everything into that small apartment, I don’t know, but in the end, our moving truck left with about 45 boxes and some important pieces of furniture.
The move meant a new beginning for us. There was also the small issue of work to contend with as Cesar was leaving one job without another lined up on the other side. I freelance, so I can work just about anywhere where there is an internet connection, but I haven’t been the main breadwinner for a while. We left hoping for the best, secretly thinking about the worst and assuming we would land somewhere in between the two.
Joey went first, then our belongings, and finally us, taking off from JFK on an evening flight, nursing one child after the other on take-off. The kids slept most of the way, while Cesar and I watched them, waiting for them to wake up screaming (which they didn’t).
The journey itself was the part that I had been the most worried about, not the preparation and not the unknown on the other end, but when it came down to it that was the easiest part. I loved being in the air, knowing that whatever happened from there on out there was no way back.
The most difficult part was leaving, and the three weeks of utmost stress that lead up to it. I’m so grateful for my family and friends who pulled together to help us get through it all! I’ve always been a stubborn so-and-so, convinced I need to do everything alone, but ever since I became a mother I have learned that asking for and receiving help is just as important as helping someone else.
We settled into our new lives pretty fast, Cesar getting not one, but four job offers within a couple of weeks, the girls have been thriving in the sunnier and warmer climate, as well as being around their grandmother and auntie, and I am finding my feet again. Space and the cleaner air help me breathe more easily, and I can see our horizons stretching out further than tomorrow or the day after.
Yes, there are days when I have a sudden and deep longing for certain parts of the city, but I am excited to see what the next few months and maybe years here will bring us. And now that we have done it once, who is to say that we won’t do it again? There is a whole world out there that I would love my daughters to discover, just like I had the opportunity to do when I was a kid.
Written by: Jade Hughes