We are moving house – again. For me, it will be move number 18. And I expect I can look forward to a few more moves yet.
I don’t remember my first move. I was only about three when my family moved from a small country town to Adelaide, where I grew up. Almost my entire childhood and adolescence was spent in one family home. The same family home that my parents moved out of about a year ago. My Dad has just turned 80 and my Mum is in her seventies, and they have just moved for the third time in their life.
In contrast, Dan and Bec have lived in eight different homes and they haven’t even left home – yet. I wonder how many moves they will clock up in their lifetime.
I’ve moved house for all sorts of reasons – education, marriage, work, family. As you might already know, we moved to Toowoomba to access better support for Dan. Much as we loved our small country town, Dan’s life opportunities were always going to be limited. So, like many other rural families with special needs children, we did what we had to do. We moved.
However, it split our family in two.
While I relocated with Dan and Bec, my husband Paul remained behind for work. It’s not ideal, but it’s what we have to do. Paul comes in for weekends, when he can, and sometimes we go back out west. At times it can be a bit stressful, always trying to work things out and make decisions over the phone. Sometimes I feel caught in the middle, not really sure where we belong or where to call home. But at the end of the day, I know that moving to Toowoomba was the best decision for Dan.
So, why are we moving house again?
A momentous transition is about to occur. Bec is moving out of home. Very soon she will be moving to Brisbane to study Music Technology at the Queensland Conservatorium. It’s a very exciting opportunity for her, but it means we will be going from mostly three in the house, to only two – for the most part. With Dan spending more and more time away from home, having his own life, we don’t really need such a big house. So we’re downsizing.
While Bec packs for her move to Brisbane, we are packing boxes too, sorting out stuff, throwing some away, donating others, and whatever doesn’t fit in the new smaller place, goes back out west to deal with in some future time.
For many families with autism, moving house can be very stressful. Fortunately for us, Dan has always coped well with moving. Perhaps it’s because we have moved a lot and he sees it as just another part of life. Perhaps it’s because we have involved him in the process, explaining what was happening, showing him the new place, his new room and getting him to help sort, pack and unpack.
I hope that we will be able to stay in this next place for more than one year. I hope that the next move will be Dan making the big transition into supported accommodation with some mates from Yellow Bridge. I hope that not too far down the track Paul will be able to join us in Toowoomba.
Until then, the next few weeks will be busy as we gear up for move number 18.