Preparing My Son For The Move To Mexico
With just a little more than three months to go before my son and I head off on our one-way adventure to Mexico, there is tons of preparation to do: completing and compiling necessary paperwork, purging and selling items, getting rid of my car, unenrolling my son from his current school, notifying my job, notifying my friends and family...the list seems to go on and on.
But, one of the biggest things on my list that I had been avoiding was telling my 4.5 year old son. Not knowing how to tell him or how he would react to the fact that our lives would be drastically changing, I continued putting it off, telling myself, “Not yet, but soon.”
You see, my son is the strong-willed type that questions every single thing and who will remain stern about whatever it is that he does/does not want to do. Why make an already stressful situation even worse by getting his emotions involved when I didn’t have to, right?
Well, the other day, my son asked if we could go back to Mexico for a vacation. Ever since we’d taken our one week vacation to Cancun at the end of 2016, he’d been asking about returning so he could “ride the buses and drink more coconut water.” I realized at that moment that by keeping the information about the move to myself, I was only being selfish and unfair to him.
So I took a deep breath and decided that was the moment I’d finally have "the talk" with him.
After ensuring that I had his undivided attention, I let him know that we would be going back to Mexico very soon, in the month of July. He screamed “Yaaay!” with excitement. I then continued to tell him that it wouldn’t just be a vacation, but that we’d be taking our things and moving there-- into our own home. His smile immediately turned into a concerned frown, and cheerful demeanor turned serious.
I immediately began to think that I had made a mistake.
He went on to say that he didn't want to leave his friends and go to a new school. He asked, "What if I don't like my new school?" I told him that going to a new school would probably be scary, but that he would meet new friends there who also love to play and would be happy to play with him. I reminded him that many of his friends would also leaving and going to different schools after the summer, but that his would be in another country. His look of concern remained, but he continued to listen.
I knew that at that point, I’d have to relate to him and let him know that he wouldn’t be the only one that had to transition to a new place. I explained that I’d also be leaving my job and friends and would also have to new friends and learn different things, but that he and I would stick together and make the most out of it. I told him that it’d be just like an adventure where both of us would get to explore a new place and learn a new language.
I pulled him close in a hug and assured him that every decision that I made for us was to give him, and to give us a better life, and that I’d never do anything that would make us unhappy. I promised that we’d always come back to visit family and friends, and that they’d do the same for us-- in fact, his father and stepmother had already made plans to visit him at our new home Cholula for his birthday.
He started to perk up a bit and I felt positive about the way the conversation was going...but of course, we couldn't end the conversation without him asking about the Popocatépetl volcano and whether or not it would erupt (which seems to be his #1 of his whenever he sees the photos). “But what if it explodes? Is it going to explode, mommy?”
I wasn’t quite sure how to answer this one, because the fact of the matter is that it very well could erupt one day. So I simply tell him, “I don’t know baby...it could one day. But we won’t worry about it because we will be far, far away from it and will know exactly what we need to do to stay safe.”
He didn’t look convinced.
To avoid any further damage, I quickly changed the subject to show him the photos I had previously taken large and beautiful playgrounds in Cholula. I showed him the tree-lined parks, and the large number of children playing with each other and spending time with their families. I told him about a large water park that was in the same neighborhood that we could visit on hot days. His eyes widened. “Wow...Those parks are HUGE! Can we please go there when we get to Mexico?” After I assured him that those visits would be among our first when we arrived to Cholula, his cheerful smile returned. He was now excited about the thought of moving.
This morning as I briefly chatted with my mother about Mexico, he said, “I can’t WAIT to get to Mexico!” and happily engaged in the discussion. He now seems to have a handle on the fact that this is actually happening. I can only hope that the positive energy on his end remains, as I know these last several weeks are only going to get harder.
Now if I can only figure out how to talk to him about the next stage of preparing for this move: Purging and consolidating all of the 50 million toys and books he currently has...
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