Leaving Our First Home For A New One, Unexpectedly (by Christina Simon)



A mom’s mixed emotions about leaving her family’s first home 

We’re moving to a new house.  I’m excited, nervous and anxious.  After almost 11 years in our first home, we’ve decided to move.  It was a sudden decision brought on by a next-door neighbor who has become unbearable.

Just three years ago, we completely remodeled our current house.  I never thought we’d move.  Suddenly, that changed.  The house next door went into foreclosure and our longtime neighbors moved out. In moved a couple with six sons.  Within a month, their house caught on fire and was rendered unlivable by city officials. Did they move out?  No!  Despite financial offers to move, they have stayed, turning the house into something that resembles a burned out, junk-filled, scary mess.  Last week, they covered the entire house in a huge blue tarp.

I noticed my two kids (ages 7 and 10) getting really anxious whenever my husband and I would discuss the situation next door.  They’d ask questions about why a family would live like that and why the family won’t speak to us.  Finally, I told my husband we shouldn’t talk about the situation in front of the kids anymore.

Friends and neighbors have told us the situation next door will change, that the family will be evicted.  But, it’s been a year and the eviction notices end up in their garbage.  My sympathy toward the family evaporated the day I found their children playing on the edge of our busy street unattended.  I insisted their mom take them inside.

Staying sanely balanced during this time has been a challenge. My kids are stressed and I’ve been trying to reassure them everything will be fine. They’re excited about our new house, but the situation next door creates a new challenge virtually every day. 

What do you do when your kids are afraid and anxious?  What do you do when you, as their mom, are anxious and stressed?  We’ve explained that the family next door is an extreme exception and that most families don’t choose to live in those conditions.  I’ve also focused on helping the kids select furniture for their new rooms and let them choose paint colors.

Meanwhile, I stay focused on the positive and when that doesn’t work, I lose myself in fashion magazines and celebrity gossip.  After all, reading about beautiful, rich actresses and their problems (a bad hair day or a fashion “don’t”) makes me feel much better!

I’m hoping our first night in the new house will be filled with new-house excitement and positive energy. Our family will create new memories in our second (and hopefully last) home.  Still, I’ll miss our old neighborhood, my mom-friends and the place where I walked my newborns for many hours on the flat sidewalks. 

Our new house in in the hills.  I’m craving privacy.  I can’t wait to look out and see green trees.  That, I think, will keep me sane! 

Christina Simon is the co-author of “Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles.” She also writes the blog, www.beyondthebrochure.blogspot.com about applying to private elementary schools in Los Angeles and life as a private school mom. Christina is a former vice president at Fleishman-Hillard, a global public relations firm. She has a 7-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. Christina lives in Hancock Park, Los Angeles with her husband and children. She has a B.A. from UC Berkeley and an M.A. from UCLA.