"The first draft of anything is shit," Hemingway said.
We tend to tell it like it is in sports; direct and to the point. If I have offended your sensibilities, let me offer this instead:
"The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later."
Bird by Bird Anne Lamott
Of course, these quotes reference the art of writing but I’ve used them as metaphors in my own life particularly when I learn that we are moving. Again. My mind immediately begins to write the story. My story always begins with the ending of all that has been created in this town. How I will end my job, friendships, and my organizational partnerships — and then say my goodbyes. The next chapter or two will focus on how to help my family transition by helping my children manage their own endings and create a vision for their next great “adventure”. From there the story takes a dark turn and becomes list building focused on organization, logistics and task completion. The ending of the story becomes the beginning of the sequel at the next city.
The process is always the same; however, the storyline never is. One story can convey a tone of sadness and disappointment while another can be filled with excitement and joy depending on the circumstances of the move. Yet there is one consistent truth for both: the first draft of how it will be is never entirely accurate, and the beauty of it is, as Anne Lamott pointed out, “you can shape it later.”
In the days of address books I consistently reminded my friends, “Don’t write our address in pen. Use a pencil; it will change.” Writing our life stories in pencil allows us the room to get it wrong the first time — and the second. We can shape what we don’t like about the story at any time. And when the next move pops up, we can write that in as a plot twist.
Just remember to bring the eraser.
The key to traveling with young kids is to be prepared and organized, anticipating that they will be hungry, tired, cranky and bored. Homemade goody bags are an essential part of maintaining your sanity. Also, wine.
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