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Moving!

Melissa Clark Vickers
Huntington, Tennessee, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 30 No. 5, September-October 1994, p. 81

This summer our family made a move we talked about for most of the sixteen years Bob and I have been married. Destination? A small town in western Tennessee called Huntington. Huntington is more than just miles away from the metro Atlanta area we left behind. It represents a whole new lifestyle: more rural, more laid back (we hope!) and, for at least the adjustment period, more isolated. Huntington is my husband's family home--land that has been in his family for at least five or six generations. We now live on a beautiful hillside next door to my father-in-law. We leave behind our house of twelve years, the only one our children have ever known, and a collection of close friends and (my) relatives. Talk about change!

The move also involves major changes in my LLL work. In Atlanta I was a Leader with five co-Leaders. I could pick up the phone and dial any one of 35-40 Area Leaders at a local call rate. The county I lived in had three active Groups; six to ten others were in easy driving distance. Finding support and a listening ear was nearly effortless.

In contrast, there is no LLL Group in Huntington or Carroll County. There are three Groups within reasonable driving distance (30-60 minutes away), and I will have to pay long distance charges to talk to other Leaders in the Area.

A Mobile Society

This is definitely a mobile society we live in. It's unusual that we stayed in one area for 16 years and one house for 12. One of my Atlanta LLL friends, Anne Grider, has moved over 40 times in her lifetime! While that must surely be an extreme, it is likely that at some time a League Leader will find herself moving to a new area.

Making the Change in the Records

When a Leader moves she has responsibilities to the organization. She needs to fill out a Change of Status form and send it to LLLI Headquarters for their Leader records and to make sure that New Beginnings and Leaven are sent to her new address. Otherwise, LLLI has to pay for the return of the publication as well as the postage to send another copy to the new address. She needs to contact the Area Coordinator of Leaders (ACL) and Area Secretary in her old Area as well as her new Area. If she has been a lone Leader, she needs to work with her District Advisor or ACL to disband the Group. If she is turning things over to a new Listed Leader she needs to be sure all records are up-to-date.

Once in her new home, the Leader can look at her leadership options in her new Area. The new ACL and any local Leaders can be of help with this.

Making the Change "in the Head"

A Leader in a new Area needs to adjust her thinking to accommodate her new surroundings. This may involve visiting Groups and talking with other Leaders to get a feel for any differences there may be in the way things are done. She may have to decide whether to start a new Group or remain "active without a Group." Some Leaders opt to retire or go on Leader Reserve at least for a while. Just getting used to a new house requires rethinking--our family still stumbles over where to call "home" and "our house." We still refer to the "house in Georgia" or the "house in Tennessee."

Making the Change "in the Heart"

This is the most difficult aspect of moving. Such deep friendships are formed through LLL that it is difficult to say good-bye to one Area and begin to say hello to another. Ironically, the friendships that develop so effortlessly in LLL actually make moving a little easier because the potential for new friendships--based on similar philosophy--exists wherever there are LLL Leaders.

Making the change in the heart to a new Area requires a period of adjustment not unlike a grieving process. Time is a major factor in healing all loss situations and it helps with this one as well. Planning for the transition--a good-bye party, individual get-togethers with close friends--allows for a sense of closure with one Area before moving on to the next.

The Leader on the move may feel guilty about the responsibility she is "dumping" on her former co-Leaders, or for disbanding a Group. Planning ahead with co-Leaders or members of the Group can make the transition easier on everybody.

Remember: Family First

It is important to remember that the stress of moving is felt not only by the Leader, but by her family as well. Family matters must take precedence over LLL responsibilities. Depending on the ages of the children involved, their ability to comprehend what "moving" really means varies widely. They have to make the change in their heads and hearts as well. They need time to say good-bye to their friends and time to become familiar with new surroundings. Extra reassurance, lots of hugs and a reordering of priorities help children settle in.

A New Adventure

As sad as I am to leave Atlanta, I feel in my heart that this is the right choice for us at this time. I'm making the transition from Georgia resident to Tennessee resident in both head and heart and I'm looking forward to new challenges, friends and LLL work in our new home. My children are adapting beautifully, spending most of their time in the woods chasing deer, toads and the biggest grasshoppers I've ever seen. My husband is working (playing) hard in the woodworking shop up the hill. My father-in-law is enjoying seeing his grandchildren grow up in front of him. Yes, I think we'll stay!

For more information on moving and LLL, see the LEADER'S HANDBOOK [first edition] pp. 177-78 and NEW BEGINNINGS, Jan-Feb 1993, p.4.

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