Moving Mom Monday: Christine St. George
Moving Mom Mondays is a series that features real moms and real families that move around the world. We hope to feature families from all walks of life and all lines of work. If you know someone who you think would like to share their moving journey, please contact us.
Our Moving Mom this week is Christine St. George. Christine’s husband works in the construction field and his job has taken them all over North America. Originally from Newfoundland, Canada, she currently lives in Illinois.
Q: How long have you been moving? How many moves have you made? Tell us about the cities where you have lived.
A: Moving for my husband, Seumas, and me is really a big part of who we are. It’s really all I’ve ever known since I first met him. Being an engineer and in construction, he’s always had to go where the work was. After we were married and he went to work for his company, we made our first ‘big’ move to the United States, back in 1998. I remember him calling me and telling me he had three job offers: one was in Newfoundland where we were both from, the second was a job in Jamaica, and the third was a job in Boston, Mass. There was no hesitation, no apprehension; I knew Iwanted to go to Boston. Since then, we’ve moved severaltimes. We’ve lived in Boston, Erie, Pa., Prairieville, La., Olathe, Kan., North Battleford, Saskatchewan, and Chatham, Ill. While living in some of these places,it was not uncommon for Seumas to work away in a different state or province in Canada. When we first started this crazy life, we just went with the flow. I don’t recall having any bad experiences moving other than a few broken items, but nothing major or nothing that didn’t make you laugh when you thought back on it. During another move, the movers were packing up and about to pull out when I returned from picking up Seumas at the airport. He told the men to wait so he could check if everything in the attic was packed, even though they claimed it was. He came back down and said there was tons of stuff still up there. One of the items left was a wooden sleigh that my Dad made my son when he was a little boy. I would have been heartbroken if we had lost it, but thankfully, we can look back on those times now and laugh.
Q: How did you and your husband first decide to move? What were the pros/cons?
A: We first decided to move out of necessity, really. At the time, the economy in Newfoundland was bad. There wasn’t a lot of work and we both thought it would be best for our little family to move where the work was. I can honestly say it’s not a decision I ever regret. I always loved our life and it’s given us so many great experiences and so many opportunities. We’ve seen so much and the kids always loved living in different places. The only downside I can think of about moving around like we do is the obvious…you are away from your family and the kids get limited time with their grandparents. I really miss being away from my mom especially. On the upside of that is you become very close as a family because in some cases, it’s all you have. It most definitely makes you stronger as a person and as a family. We’ve also been blessed to have made some really cool bonds with other families that move.
Q: Tell us about your family? Where was everyone born? How did your kids handle the moves?
A: Since we’ve been in the United States, I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom. With Seumas working away, I keep busy with the kids, school, our home, my own little projects and our many pets. Seumas is best known as “Stack Daddy” for his construction firm, or the guy who engineered and planned two 400’ concrete chimneys for his company. He’s also known for his trouble shooting skills. I think he’s a great engineer but I’m a tad biased. We have three sweet, smart, independent thinking, cute, sometimes funny, kids. Kevin is 19 and has just finished his first year of college, where he is working toward a biology degree. He plans on going to veterinarian school in Florida. He was born in NL, Canada but only spent the first two years of his life there. Emma will be sweet 16 this summer and she is looking forward to getting her license soon. Out of the three, I think she is the most like her dad. She is always so organized and she is always thinking and planning. She says she’d like to go in the field of medicine. I think she will be great at whatever she puts her mind to. Emma was born in Erie, Pa. Chrissy is my baby and she is 10. She was born in Olathe, Kan. She is a phenomenal little gymnast. She is very bright and she has a huge heart. She is much like me in that she loves to do crafts and she is very creative.
Q: What has been your favorite location, why?
A: That’s a tough one. I have so many fond memories of each place we’ve lived but if I had to name just one, I’d go with Louisiana. The schools were amazing, far superior to any other state our kids attended public schools in. I loved the weather. I loved to garden, so I was able to enjoy my garden most of the year. It was a shock the first winter we were there, because it was our first Christmas without snow. I loved Louisiana’s unique culture and the accents. I loved all the wildlife down there. From the Mediterranean house geckos to the little Green Anoles and skinks and even the huge bugs like the praying mantis and the walking sticks to the big grasshoppers and moths. When you were driving at night, you had to watch for snakes in the street and more than once I ran over one. I also remember seeing alligators on the interstate going into New Orleans. Being in Louisiana and surrounded by all these things, my son’s curiosity was piqued. It’s no wonder we have so many varied pets today.
Q: What’s your best advice for women who move with their families?
A: The best advice I could give anyone who is moving is to enjoy every minute of the adventure. Preplanning is the trick to keeping stress at a bare minimum. Take lots of pictures. Stay insanely organized. Protect your valuables. Get in touch with other wives who are moving in the area with you for moral support. Plan a get together with the wives (playdates for kids) who are moving into the area. Do research on schools in the area and find a church. Do research on doctors and hospitals too. Scope out all the fun places that you plan on going to after you move. Take advantage of your time in each place, you just never know when your time there will come to an end. Do as much as time and money will allow.
Q: What is your best memory from all the moves?
A: Again, that’s tough too. I have so many fond, fun memories of every place we’ve moved to. We always had mini adventures to each place we moved. There were little critters we adopted in each place; critters that moved with us, even toCanada. When we were moving back to the US from Saskatchewan, the movers somehow packed up our lizards. We had to unpack them and put them in a safe, mover-free zone. We’ve moved on the hottest of days and the coldest too. I’ve met people who I will have lifelong bonds with. Some people I’ve met with these moves have passed on. In some moves you think you are moving simply for a job but God has a way of reminding you about his plans he has for you and the people he puts in your life. I feel so fortunate for those I’ve had the honor of knowing and becoming friends with.
Q: What would you encourage a mom doing a move for the first time to do for their family to help make the move easier on them and their families?
A: I would suggest doing research on the area and focus on all the positives about that place. Assuming they have kids, I would suggest reminding kids of all the fun things they will be able to experience for the first time and all the new friends they will make. I would definitely encourage a mom to reach out to other moms who are in the area. This is the main reason why I created a wives support group on Facebook for the company my husband works for. I don’t like when I hear of women who feel alone in these moves or they are stressed or upset. That bothers me. I don’t think they should feel that they are alone in all of this – there are others out there who can help. I remember being at a company meeting with my husband and of course all the wives who knew each other would flock to each other but then there was always a few who were new and didn’t know anyone else. I tried my best to scope out some of these women and include them in what all the wives were doing. It can be intimidating for anyone doing anything for the first time. It doesn’t have to be. Having a friend or someone who understands what you are going through does help. It’s nice to have a little moral support.
-contributed by Christine St. George