In Need of an Emergency Contact

emergency contact #handsfreemama

“Are you Rachel Stafford?” she asked me over the low roar of party conversation and festive music. When I nodded, the woman with a very familiar face said, “You are the emergency contact for half my preschool class.”

It wasn’t meant as a compliment, but as the words rolled off her tongue, I couldn’t help but smile. I felt the magnitude of its meaning in a way I hadn’t before.

Rachel Stafford, Emergency Contact

Although there are many esteemed titles in today’s society, I could not think of a higher honor at that moment. I’d filled out enough school registration forms to know the importance of those three blank lines. Who would pick up your children if you couldn’t? Who would you trust with life’s most precious gifts?

Knowing I was chosen to retrieve my friends’ pint-sized angels in times of trouble gave me an added confidence boost over the past few months. Whenever I failed miserably in other areas of my life, I reminded myself: I am an Emergency Contact. I may have more flaws and failures than I can count, but my friends know I would drop everything to retrieve their precious babies and love them as my own. That thought always gave me a lift.

But very recently the term Emergency Contact has come to mean even more.

You see, I now have in my possession two new school registration forms for each of my children. And for the first time in seven years, the blank emergency contact lines have taunted me. For the first time in seven years, I have no beloved names to write on those very important lines.

Due to my husband’s job, we are relocating to a new state when the school year ends. Luckily, I’ve had some time to process the thought of moving before telling my children because honestly, those emergency contact lines have been a great source of sadness. We are moving away from a beautiful collection of kind and loving people who are worthy of the honorable Emergency Contact title beside their names. Although my rational mind knows we will make new friends in our new community, trust is another thing. Trusting someone with your most precious gifts takes time.

A few weeks ago, it was time for the ‘For Sale’ sign to be placed in our yard. That morning our children were told of the news. Although a few tears slipped out of my eyes when the girls began to cry, I have come to feel truly excited about our new adventure and the wonderful new school they will be attending. With genuine happiness I told them about all the opportunities and blessings I foresee.

“But I won’t have any friends there. We don’t know anyone there,” my older daughter cried.

We have no emergency contacts, is what my heart heard her say. I swallowed hard. When we think of leaving it is not: can we take our favorite couch? It is not: how big is my new bedroom? It is not: does the neighborhood have a pool?

When we think of leaving, the faces of those we will desperately miss is what immediately comes to mind.

When it’s time to say goodbye, we are powerfully reminded that the most important things in life aren’t things.

And just like me, my children instantly felt the need for familiar faces—people who know us … people who love us … people we can call in times of trouble, even at one o’clock in the morning.

I got down on bended knee in front of my children with tear-streaked cheeks and shared my heart and my hopes. “I have cried many tears thinking about saying goodbye to our friends here too. But we will join a swim team. We will find a church. We will take walks every evening in our new neighborhood, and it won’t be long before we will make a friend or two,” I assured.

That weekend was rough for my children. Processing the thought of moving brought a roller coaster of emotions and lots of questions. At night, they had trouble sleeping.

“I can’t believe we’re moving,” my older daughter whispered tearfully when she came to my bed at midnight. “I don’t want to leave my friends, Mama.”

Although I was still half asleep, I managed to offer up a hopeful thought. “Remember, we’re moving to the same city that your best friend’s aunt lives. We have known Aunt Jane for years, and she adores you.”

My daughter thought about it for a minute and a tiny smile came to her lips. “Can we have Aunt Jane over for dinner when we get settled? Like on a Friday night could she just come and hang out with us?”

A Familiar face. Someone who knows us. Someone who loves us. Someone we can count on. Someone we can trust.

I could have kissed my child right then and there! My emergency contact lines weren’t empty after all! I didn’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before.

I had someone I could call in the middle of the night.

I had someone who would not be a total stranger if my children had to be picked up at school.

I had someone who knew us for many years.

I had someone I could trust with my most precious gifts.

I tucked my daughter back in bed and tiptoed downstairs. I pulled out my yellow folder that contained all our important relocation documents. The school registration forms were right on top.

I turned to the Emergency Contact page and wrote Jane’s name in big, bold letters on the top line and crawled into bed. I said a prayer of gratitude for the little things in life that definitely aren’t things, and they sure aren’t little. And then I slept soundly for the first time in months.

My friends, I am simply the messenger on this life-changing journey, and today I have this message to give:

If you are an Emergency Contact, thank you for being willing to show up no matter when … no matter where … no matter how inconvenient it is to be present in someone’s time of need. You are an Emergency Contact. Relish that honorable title and remind yourself of it when you fail in other areas of your life.

If you have an Emergency Contact, look at that name and take a moment to recognize his or her importance in your life.  Better yet, take a moment to express your gratitude for the important role he or she plays. Take a moment to relish the fact that you have someone who knows you, loves you, and is there for you.

If you are in limbo, perhaps in between an old place and a new place, my hope is that you unexpectedly realize that despite thinking you are alone, you find that you really aren’t alone.

And finally, no matter what place in life you are in—settled or unsettled, known or unknown—may you have the courage to reach out your hand and say hello to someone who looks scared and uncertain.

Who knows? You might just be reaching out to my family.

And if it is us, we will smile with relief and be grateful for your unfamiliar hand.

Because whether it’s blank registration forms or homesick hearts, the kindness of one person is enough to fill the emptiest of spaces.

emergency contact hands free mama


Emergency contacts come in many forms. I’d love to hear where you find comfort in times of uncertainty, sadness, and change. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights in the comment section below. The Hands Free Revolution community provides a beautiful resource for those who come here to find hope and feel less alone in their daily struggles and triumphs.

For those who are visiting this blog for the first time, I wrote a book that describes all the steps I took to let go of daily distraction, perfection, and pressure to “do it all.” Check out HANDS FREE MAMA, a New York Times Bestseller here.

Also, if you haven’t been to The Hands Free Shop in awhile, there are a few new items that serve as powerful visual reminders to live more & love more in the time we are given. I have been giving the gold foil Presence Pledge as birthday gifts to the special people in my life and their response has been so moving. Perhaps if you are looking for a meaningful holiday gift, you will find something in the shop. Thank you for your support! 



  1. 1

    Erin says

    Glad you are back!

    Also happy that you have found your positive perspective on moving.

    happy Wednesday

  2. 3


    Love you, Girl. Moving is hard and beautiful and scary and promising all wrapped up in a ball of jitters and high hopes. We still don’t have emergency contacts or a local doctor, but we have each other. Holding you close in my heart as you begin this journey. You know I’m always just a phone call — or a road trip — away. XOXO

    • 4


      Oh Katrina. You sure have a way with words. “We still don’t have emergency contacts or a local doctor, but we have each other.” You have reduced me to a crying mess–but I won’t forget these powerful words. Home is where my family is. That is what I need to remember. Thank you for talking to me that day about your own move. You are so wise but you are real and let me be real. Grateful for you. If only I was moving to YOUR neighborhood.

  3. 5

    Jen says

    Good Luck in your new adventure. I moved with my two daughters three years ago and I was very blessed to move into a great neighborhood with wonderful neighbors. It hasn’t always been easy but my girls have made wonderful friends are doing wonderfully.

  4. 7

    Sara F says

    Rachel, I have very much enjoyed your blog, and bought your book as soon as it came out! If you are moving anywhere near Charlotte, we could be friends! 🙂

    • 8


      Thank you, Sara! How beautiful of you to just open your heart and your hand to me. I cannot tell you how much that means to me! We aren’t moving to Charlotte, but what a comfort to know I have a friend there. You have brought a smile to my face today.

  5. 9

    kim graham says

    this article hits so close to home. we just made the decision to move based on professional and personal reasons…sign went in the yard last weekend. telling our friends is heartbreaking. they have become our family and our emergency contacts. although our daughter is only 1 year old, i still think about the transition she will have with daycare, etc….and the transition my husband and i will have in our new community. scary, exciting, overwhelming…all at the same time. thank you for writing this. i really really needed to read this today.

  6. 11


    I have for roughly 14 years put my (now) husband as the emergency contact on those lines. In a few months we move back to Berlin after a year and a half of introducing our first daughter here in Australia to family and friends we will dearly miss. Berlin is not completely new for us, but is new for us as a family. It is reassuring to ponder on the few names in my mind for emergency numbers there.
    Thank you for sharing this, it really gave me that rainbow-on-a-dark-cloud feeling.

    • 12

      Lenise says

      I’ve only been reading your blog for a few weeks. This post is beautiful as we are also moving away from dear friends and family in 10 days time. Rarely do I read through comments but this time I did and was comforted to see many others in the same situation. I stopped short at your comment, Gosia, as we too are moving from Australia to Berlin. Although I have moved cities and countries quite a few times, this is the first move as a family – my husband and two young kids (4 & 2). And with the advice of reaching out and making connections, if you see this, Gosia, it’d be great to meet on the other side of the world! Who knows, we might just end up being emergency contacts 🙂

  7. 13


    Ah, yes. I have been in your shoes both feeling like I had no emergency contacts and then realizing that I did in places I didn’t realize. Such a powerful post; such a powerful reminder of what love and support does exist even when we feel it doesn’t. Thank you for this because lately, I have been feeling that I am without Emergency Contacts big time. But now, now I realize that perhaps I just need to look at things differently. Beautiful as always.

  8. 15

    Debbie Brazzeal says

    Dear Rachel, I came across your book, “Hands Free Mama” in the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Arlington, TX. I couldn’t buy it that day, so I looked up your website, because I knew it would be a good one, and I was not disappointed. your messages totally speak to my heart and I read them daily. I am looking forward to reading your book, “Hands Free Mama and also am excited to read Ms. Meltons new paperbook. Thank you for coming into my life!

    Debbie Brazzeal

    • 16


      Thank you, Debbie! I am so glad you found me so I could find you. My book has a lot of inspiration with tons of simple strategies for letting go of distraction, perfection, guilt, and hurry. Thank you for your support!

  9. 17

    Tavie Cobb says

    Rachel….I have enjoyed the years of coaching and loving your girls! I will miss you all but I know there are great things ahead. The girls will make friends quickly at school and at the pool because they are amazing, kind and caring! And I have no doubt that you will quickly become the emergency contact for all their new friends and neighbors! So through all the hugs and tears we will share at the end of swim team next month, I will smile at the journey you and your family will embark on!

    • 18


      We love you, Coach Tavie! What a blessing you & your daughter have been to our lives over the years. I don’t think I will ever find a coaching staff that loves my daughters like y’all do, but we will carry your love and encouragement with us. And we will be okay because of the foundation you gave us.

  10. 19


    What an amazing post! It reminded me of different times in life when I’ve HAD emergency contacts and BEEN the emergency contact. Praying for a wonderful transition for your family as you start your new adventure. So true: The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things. xo

  11. 21


    Dear Rachel, I read you a lot. I implemented a “hand free” kindermusik policy thanks to your posts.
    You made me cry. thanks for this post
    and good luck in your new community

    • 22


      Thank you, dear Vanessa. Last time we moved, my youngest daughter and I immediately joined a Kindermusik class. It was blessing to go there every week and feel a part of something. Thank you for what you do. I am so glad you have implemented a “hands free” policy. My daughter loved for me to clap and sing right along with her. I am glad I didn’t miss it.

  12. 24


    If you’re moving to Upstate NY, I would totally let you use me as an emergency contact. We’re already pretty good friends in my mind 🙂

  13. 26

    Kelly says

    I love this post. 12 years ago I moved 682 miles away from friends and family, with a 6 year old boy, a dog and a beta fish on 3 weeks notice. The first day in my new town I had to start work, take my son to sign up for and start school and meet the movers. The enormity of what I had done hit me when I had to fill out the emergency contacts list. I had none. I didn’t even know my office phone number or my secretary’s name. I listed my parents back in Chicago and that was it. Since then when I tell the story I say I should have written: try harder to find me. It was a huge transition but through my son’s school, his friends and my job, I have found a village that has helped me raise my son and eventually adopt a little girl. Not having emergency contacts is tough, but it makes you reach out with open arms and embrace a community in ways you might not otherwise. Good luck with your move.

  14. 27

    Bree says

    Thank you so much for your post! We are a military family with kiddos ages 2-17. We have moved every couple of years their whole lives. I can definitely relate to many of the emotions you describe surrounding emergency contacts. As a mom I have worried about the tender hearts of my girls each time we leave friends behind but have found that kids are way more adaptable than we realize. It’s always hard leading up to the move but the excitement of exploring the new place once you get there helps a lot. If you stay positive then they will, too. Best Wishes on your new adventure!

  15. 28

    Mirit says

    Dear Rachel, I LOVED this post! I relocated with my family 3.5 years ago from Israel to America. We live in Cleveland OH and that is a very cold place in many ways…no walks in the nighberhood or even playing in the back yard most of the year …so friends are not easy to make:( but I do have an “emergency contact”, and I find myself reevaluating again and again the meaning of friendship. Trying to open myself to different kinds of friendship than those I left back home. And “angels” are popping up when I call for them…Good luck in your relocation! I bet that before tou know it you will be an Emergency contact for someone yourself…;)

    • 29

      Rachel says


      Welcome to Cleveland! I know what you mean about the weather making it hard to find friends with so little time outside. With Pesach coming, there’s a little more chance to get out and be social, though. If you and your family need a yom tov meal, we’d be happy to have you! You can PM me on Facebook for more contact info.

      All the best,

      Rachel Covitch

  16. 30

    Rhesa says

    We lost my Mother in Law in 2012 and she was always one of our emergency contacts for our daughter, the first time I had to fill out a form and could no longer list her was tough. We miss her beyond measure. Best of luck to you in your new home town!

  17. 31

    Courtney B. says

    As a military spouse, this post resonates deeply with me. Our community is faced with this challenge every few years. It is difficult to adjust to a new community and make new connections…filling out all those school forms is daunting and usually there is no emergency contact initially. I do appreciate those who open their hearts to my children and family, especially non-military families who face the inevitable of us moving at some point.

    • 32

      Gloria says

      Glad to see another military family here. We move county or country every 2 years, and while it’s always hard work, it also gives us a chance to purge out the stuff weighing us down, and opens up new adventures. My daughters know they will make new friends and can keep in touch with old friends via my Facebook, Skype, FaceTime, etc. But, yes, it can take a while to find someone for that Emergency Contact space… but when you do, it’s a lovely relief! And don’t underestimate the power of your personal network. When single, I moved countries five times…. Always a bit daunting, but I would send a message out to all my friends, asking if anyone knew anyone where I was going…. And someone always did. That “friend of a friend” was an invaluable resource for information, insights, contacts and company. I do “virtual introductions” via email for my friends moving , whenever I can. Take care.

  18. 33

    Shannon says

    We moved to a new city as newlyweds. Leaving family and friends and comfort was tough for me, I’m a close-knit kind of person. We found out we were having a baby and I cried as I looked at the Emergency Contact line. I had no inner circle, no network of trusted friends and family. And then I paused, thought of my closest ‘new’ friend and asked her. She was honored and I know it brought us together. You’ll find more names to add in your new city. Good souls just find each other.

  19. 34


    Congratulations and best of luck with your move, Rachel…any chance you are moving to PA or MD? If so, you have a friend, not too far away…what an adventure. Much love!

  20. 36


    Rachel- you took the words right out of my head and heart! We are in the same boat, moving to a new state this summer. We’ve been fortunate enough to already have met some wonderful, kind people on our trips out, but in honesty, I already ache for the dear faces and routines that are familiar. I know that home for me is any four walls that hold the ones I love and that this adventure will be a good one for our family, but that doesn’t make it easy! Just wanted you to know that your words were exactly what I needed this morning, and that the next time you find yourself staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, wondering how all life’s details will weave together, you’ve got a friend doing the same!

    • 37


      Thank you, Amanda. I WILL think of you and it WILL make me feel less alone. What a gift. I am so grateful for your friendship and support that comes in all forms and just when I need it the most. I wish you all the best in your new adventure.

  21. 38

    Heather says

    We’ve moved a few times to places that are far from family, and were blessed with wonderful church families. I like to look at each move as a way to make new friends-for-life! Don’t be afraid to ask someone to be your emergency contact (especially the mom you meet who feels like an instant friend!). It felt awkward for me to ask for help each time we moved, yet I would never turn down being someone else’s emergency contact. You could be giving someone else a chance to bless you in return…

    • 39


      This is very helpful, and I know your words are going to pop into my head when I do meet that person I instantly connect with. Such a wonderful feeling. I am hopeful just thinking about it. Thank you, Heather!

  22. 41

    Margaret says

    To echo what some of the others wrote, I would gladly be your Emergency Contact! I am totally unorganized, and a perfectionist proctrastinator, but would drop everything I’m doing if someone’s child needed help! I think you are probably not moving close to me (I am just west of Charlotte, NC) but I am so glad you thought of Aunt Jane, and know that you will have many more ECs to add to your list very soon! <3 Blessings to you and your family on this adventure!

  23. 42

    Jackie Stark says

    We just moved in August, and while we were fortunate to move to the same town my brother lives in, I know this fear well. You’ll be amazed who God will put in your life when you need them, like Aunt Jane. We got here and found out our son’s new teacher was an acquaintance from college, and dear family friends knew the pastor at the Lutheran church, and so on and so on. It requires bravery and a sense of adventure and a whole lot of trust in God. Blessings on your new adventures and prayers for peace for your family!

  24. 43

    Darlene says

    I feel certain you will find and be an emergency contact quickly after settling in your new home. Transitions can be difficult but their “uncomfortableness ” affords us such wonderful personal growth. This made me cry when I read it when I thought of our last move five years ago. We had only been there for two years, but had some beautiful emergency contacts we were blessed to know there. Good luck on your journey!

  25. 44

    Melissa says

    Ah yes. This. Welcome to the life of a military spouse. Finding that Emergency Contact every time we move must happen fast. The first person that I meet that “feels” like the kind of person who would take care of my son if I couldn’t be reached, is the person whose name goes on that form. Sometimes it’s my immediate next door neighbor. Sometimes it’s the person I sit next to at the orientation briefing for the new post. My son will be 16 in May and has lived in 9 houses, 7 states and 2 countries and has attended 8 different schools in his short life. Encourage your children to write letters (postcards are easier) to their best friends as soon as you arrive in the new house. Trust me when I tell you that being left behind is SO much harder than the doing the leaving. (You are busy with your new adventures … those left behind are busy missing you!) And your children’s friends will truly appreciate receiving those postcards. Remember, change can build resilience in children. Making new friends and adapting to new environments will be good skills to have as they grow older. Best of luck to you and your family!

    • 45


      Thank you. This is so encouraging, helpful, and hopeful to me (and I am sure all those who are reading these beautiful collections of comments)! Thank you for taking the time to share this wisdom and experience, Melissa.

  26. 46

    Melissa says

    I had the same thing happen when we moved to our current home. We live in the country and the country kids need not only an emergency contact but a town home in case of severe weather like blizzards. I cried because my kids were telling me the form still needed to be turned in and the office was requesting the forms again. I always turn forms in the next day and here I was holding on to this form not knowing what to do. I have to say it was one of the hardest parts of the move. I was emergency contact for kids and had lots of people who could come take care of my kids at our old home and here I had nobody! Thankfully God placed a wonderful family into our lives that had just moved here a few years ago and had also gone through the same thing. It is just one place for my kids but it is nice to know that there is someplace for them when their is nothing familiar here except our family of four.

  27. 47


    Having grown up as a military brat, I fully understand the need for familiar faces in a new place. Your family will make new friends and will make a ton of new memories in your new home. And your life will be even more fulfilling as your Emergency Contact cup fillith over.

  28. 48

    Stephanie says

    Shortly after my husband passed away, my son and I were invited to a play date at an indoor playground that required an emergency contact for both of us. I remember feeling incredibly lost and anxious staring at those lines. I have since been able to reach out to neighbors and new friends but those lines still cause some discomfort.

  29. 49

    Kathleen says

    I too had an emergency contact crisis earlier this year. I was starting a new job and the paperwork asked for two emergency contacts. Number one was my husband and number two has always been my mother. Well I had to pause and think. Yes I still have my mother but sadly she has Alzheimer’s and though she is still very much herself she is in no shape to be an emergency contact bit made me so sad. One of the first real losses I have felt from this terrible disease!

  30. 50

    Katie says

    As a military family, we go through this more often than most. It’s not fun, but it is possible. I’m sharing this to remind my army friends that I will ALWAYS be their Emergency Contact and to say thank you to those that have been mine.

  31. 52


    This is so poignant. So true. I think about it often. How if I were back in NY w. my family I would have loads of them. And now I probably have a good handful but when it comes time to choosing one or two it can be hard. And then I think of the days when that all might change, what if we did move, again, to where there were none? It’s scary. I’m glad you thought of yours. And that you’ve found your way towards accepting the change and supporting your little ones through it. Thanks for sharing.

  32. 53

    Karrie says

    Just wanted to add that we moved from all my family 3 years ago, my heart was sooo heavy for so long. Sadly my kids saw the sadness in my eyes- can’t hide ANYTHING from them! Anyway it has taken me until our least trip home, just a few weeks ago to realize we live in a wonderful place!!! We had our 4th baby in January and all our other kiddos stayed with one neighbor at night, and another took them to and from school while we were in the hospital. It was very hard having a baby without my sisters and my own mama but now I know I have oh so many Emergency Contacts, I just had to realize they were there. For me, it was an “ah-ha” moment. The switch flipped. I encourage you in your new adventure, and look forward to all you have to write about it! Hugs to your girls, it may be hard at first but they’ll do great.

  33. 54


    After moving with school age children to 5 cities in 3 three states, I have faced that dilemma more times than I care to count. Even with new schools, the struggle can be similar – I think it is because as mothers, we don’t see ‘Emergency Contact’ in those exact words – we see “who do you want us to call to fill in the nuturing, safety you provide your child when you cannot” because whether it is a ride home after an unexpected delay, or a ride home because of something far more serious – who will care for your child like you?

    Having had that number dialed for my boys was a scary day, but so many people showed up – I didn’t even know some very well. And in the moment that I had to call in troops to help with our family – they all worked together, it is a beautiful memory – it was scary at the time. Our emergency contact finally arrived and controlled the chaos – but that experience has giveen me a comfort – that good people care, show up and love our children – and though they may never make it to EC status – they are wonderful gifts. So as I filled out that form again this year in a new town – I wasn’t as nervous, because I knew that God would send troops until our favorite Aunt made her way to us.

    Good luck in your new home town, and you will be a name on many new families information cards – and both of you will be blessed.

  34. 55

    Debbie says

    Rachel, if you are in Colorado , I would be honored to be your emergency contact! You are my daily smiling sunshine!

  35. 56


    Oh how I know about this feeling and all of the emotions! We are getting ready to do it again and I too wrote about the feeling that comes when you realize you have zero information to put on that Emergency Contacts blank line. The fantastic part about moving though is that you are opening up your family to new, amazing friendships and contacts – emergency or not.

  36. 57

    Steve O'Rourke says

    I wish you and your family every happiness and success Rachel in your new adventure together. I know moving isn’t an easy part of life to accept, both as a child and as the parent who has to try and help them make sense of it all. Based on the words that I have read in your book as well as those I read regularly here, I know you will be amazing as always and throughout this journey, your children will always have you in mind and heart as their “Emergency Contact” :-).

    Love and light.

    Steve & Adia.

  37. 58

    Leigh Ann says

    I love reading your blog. I can relate so much to many things you write and especially to this post. Four years ago my family relocated moving from Pennsylvania to California. We left a community where we were deeply rooted. Both my husband and I grew up in the town we were living in and we left dear, life time friends and family, a host of babysitters and “emergency contacts”. At the time of our move our boys were 12, 9 and 6. None of us wanted to move, but we knew it was a wonderful opportunity and felt God really paving the way ahead of us. I’ll never forget registering my boys for school… and, tearfully, leaving the emergency contact blank only to be filled in a few days after school started with a new friend I had met. There were a lot of lonely moments and it was hard for me to go to the grocery store and not run into one person that I knew. In PA I couldn’t go anywhere without running into a friend. The first 6 months were challenging and quite honestly very sad. But, looking back I see that it was ok for me to be lonely. I grew a lot in those months. I’m still learning a lot. Over time I’ve met wonderful people and made friends that are like family. I now realize that if we hadn’t moved I would never have met them. Now, the circle of people that I love and am so grateful for has grown, and I have loved ones on both coasts 🙂 We found a church and that has become a home for me too. After my initial 6 months of sadness (I’m REALLY slow to adjust to change), I decided that I could help myself by focusing on others and not so much on myself. The more I thought about missing friends, being so far from family and how sad I was, the more miserable I was. I decided to start being thankful for where we were and focus my attention on others, looking for opportunities to serve others at church, at my kids’ schools, or in our community. That is when I became happy. I believe there is always healing to be found in serving others. It sounds like you already have a great attitude about your move, so really you’re way ahead of where I was. Also, you have a heart for other people and I bet you’ll find ways to focus on others – you already do that by writing your blog. I wish you well. It’s hard to say good-bye, but know that there are a bunch of new friends just waiting to meet you, and your circle of loved ones is about to grow.

    • 59


      Great point, Leigh Ann. You never really leave friends and loved ones behind. You just add to your circles and to the places where you feel at home.

      Rachel, if you or your kids need words of understanding and support, I’m here for you!

  38. 60


    Prayers for your journey. Wherever it may take you, I am sure that you will be a blessing to the lives of those you are entering. I moved my whole childhood (air force brat) and moved almost as much in my adulthood. I dread those Emergency Contact lines. My child is my heart, how do I trust that to someone I pass on the sidewalk and struggle to remember their name? I can’t. The lines will remain empty until I remember a name that brings a smile of realization that I too, have someone I can trust with my most precious gift. If you’re moving to my area (california), I would be honored to add your name to that line next year. And introduce you to our church, dentists and doctors…

  39. 61


    I just came back from my younger child’s first College Application meeting. Soon there will be no school forms to fill out. Fortunately, the women who have been my emergency contacts will all still be there so we can comfort one another when all of them have gone. Thank you for putting your finger on such a wonderful metaphor.

  40. 62


    We recently had the exact same experience when we moved from South Florida to Alaska. We didn’t know anybody and were unable to fill out a single name on the emergency contact forms. I recently filled out new forms for the new school year. I felt an enormous sense of relief to be able to list someone on my kid’s emergency contact lines and it occurred to me how settled I felt now that I had my own emergency contact again.

  41. 63

    Jen says

    I think many women had the same thought upon reading this post: “If you’re moving near me, I’ll be your emergency contact and new friend!” You have such a genuine, warm way about you and the way you’ve shared your struggles, your triumphs, and your life lessons. I believe you and your girls will have no trouble at all making new friends! BTW – It was neat to see your recommendation of Glennon’s blog and her new book. Sort of cool to see two of my biggest mama/woman heroes connected!

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    April says

    This really touched my heart just now. My family and I will be moving to California in a couple of months due to a military assignment. Since the day we found out it has blanketed my mind constantly. All I can think of is that we are leaving, the comfort of what we have known for four years to the unknown, and reading this post has given me life. I no longer will focus on what we are leaving, but all that is ahead for us to gain. Thank you for your courage to write this and your honesty, it means a lot.

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    Stacy says

    This is something I’ve cried over many times. We have no grandparents left to be Emergency Contacts for our young girls. My dad passed 13 years ago to leukemia. We lost my husbands parents in 21012 to different illnesses and my mom committed suicide 8 months later.
    It’s was soooo difficult when I had to think who will we put down now? But the truth is, we have amazing friends and some family who have stepped in. And for those that we are able to “trust our prized possessions” with, I am so grateful.

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    Hi Rachel,

    I loved this post. It drew me in when I read the title because we moved 7 months ago to a new place where we didn’t have our network of friends and family. Filling out that emergency card was one of the strangest things. It gave me such a feeling of being alone.

    For us the transition has been harder than I expected. I have to admit, I’d love to have a warm and loving group of friends around me like I used to. But I feel the growth that we’ve experienced as a family has been priceless and I remind myself to be patient.

    If I have any words of wisdom for your move, it’s to be patient, creating a new life doesn’t happen when the house is unpacked, or the kids start school, but it does happen.

    • 67

      Marisa says

      This is such a great comment! We are moving in 19 days to a new state where we don’t have friends yet or family…I will remember your {patient} advice! Thanks!

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    Jnna says

    We can be friends if it’s NW AR ;). I read your book, and I think we are out of the same mold. (Your previous self + I’m a runner). Lol. Needless to say, after reading it I am trying to do much better. Thank goodness The lords mercies are new everyday. Without Him, there’s no telling where I’d be with his help in transforming my attitudes. 🙂

  46. 69

    Christine says

    My military hubby is now retired, and my kids have finally made it to college. Your post triggered so many memories of nervously putting down the name of the boss’s wife, a woman I’d never met, or the boss himself (if he wasn’t married), or even the name the young (22?!) lieutenant that worked for my hubs. What did they know about my kids?? Would they really help? But the answer was always yes. After 9 new schools for my oldest, I discoved that someone always came through when I needed them. And sometimes, that person I’d never met, who was somehow now my Emergency Contact, became my friend. Life has a way of working things out. It will for you, too. 🙂

  47. 70

    Marisa says

    Thank you Rachel for your post…this really came at the perfect time. I just filled out my kids paperwork for school…we are moving out of state in 19 days and I was at a loss when I came to emergency contact! I now can kind of laugh knowing I am not the only one going through this…I am not the only mom trying to comfort their kids as they don’t want to leave friends…I swear we are all going through so much that is the same in this world and it is nice to be connected even if it’s through a blog…brings comfort and encouragement!


  48. 71


    Every now and then I read something that hits me so hard I have no words because my breath is taken from me. This did that.

    I still vividly remember the pain of moving when I was about 6- I cried every day for weeks before and after.

    I vividly remember the pain of moving away from that new home for college, and again after getting married.

    I most vividly remember the pain of moving away from our Navy friends when my husband was done, and as I pulled away from my best friend with her newborn and with my newborn, I was sure my heart would never heal.

    And now if I had to leave, I don’t know that I’d survive it.

    But…. had I never had the pain of leaving, I’d never had the joy of knowing them each.

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    Melissa says

    Literally just met a mom at our neighborhood park that is from MN and living in CO for two years. We had the nicest conversation about raising kids with no family in or near CO. I’ve lived here for 10 years and have been blessed with a beautiful Colorado Family that consists of friends from college that my husband was close to, co workers from past jobs, and wonderful neighbors! People have come into our lives for reasons, seasons and life times. I am grateful for the Emergency Contact people on my sons’ school records!!!! Your family will create a new and beautiful support network. Two years from now you all will be so grateful for those people and to Aunt Jane too 😉 Sending you love and support on your new journey ahead!

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    Carly says

    The coolest thing just happened. I was opening this post on my phone when I was immediately interrupted by a text from my neighbor (and mutual emergency contact) of the last 8 years. She was stuck on the other side of town just as her son was getting off the school bus to come home. She asked if I could run out and receive him, which of course I did without hesitation. I never take these moments for granted. The blessing of having a next door neighbor that I can ALWAYS count on (and who can ALWAYS count on me) is a sacred one. I shed a tear reading your post, and a few extra after having just helped out a neighbor and friend in need. It won’t be long before you have new neighbors who won’t think twice to help. Best of luck on your move!

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    Sandra says

    If only you were coming here, sweet friend, but I know that’s too much to hope for. I have moved many times, and while it can be tough in the beginning, there are a lot of fun parts to a new adventure. Don’t forget to send me your new address so we can keep in touch!

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    Alma G says

    Rachel, we moved from one side of Australia to the other. We left behind all of our friends, family – everything we had ever known. Fast forward 7 years and I would not change my life for the world. We have the best friends and our relationship is so much stronger. I wish you all the best for your new adventure and hope those lines fill up with trustworthy names for you soon 🙂 As long as you and your family have each other and you are all healthy, then you have the world 🙂

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    J says

    Rachel, I so appreciate this perspective. We live at least 2 hrs from any family and we needed a local “Emergency Contact” when our daughter went to preschool. For some reason, I was nervous to ask our next-door neighbor, even though she has become a good friend and almost extended family member. I felt like a middle-school kid asking her to “go out” with me! Fortunately, she felt as honored as you do (even with all that she has going on in her own life) and I realized I would be honored to be asked the same thing for her little one someday. Every family needs its own network of support and this was such a clear moment of defining mine. Glad to see you already have one forming in your new locale – best of luck with your move!!

  54. 78

    Heather says

    Rachel, When God closes one door, he always opens another. I know that this may sound cliché, but I have learned the hard way many times, that this is true. He watches over us and has a plan in mind for all of us, the problem is, it is not always our plan. Trust Him and he will guide you to the special people that will become part of your new life. Many blessings to you and your family.

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    Mika says

    Our kids are lucky to have my parents close by. After reading your post, I decided to flick them a text to see how they are today, and to thank them again for babysitting. I’m counting my blessings this morning xoxo

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    Rachel, what a beautiful post — I love it. A close friend and I were just chatting about being each other’s in case of emergency, and what an honor that is. (And it also connects perfectly with Carry On, Warrior, since there’s an ICE chapter in there too!)

    Relocating is tough, but I know that you and your girls will find new friends and gift a new community with your presence. And if your travels lead you across northwest Alabama, know that you can always stop for a meal or rest at our house! xoxo

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    Karen Wiechman says

    Even after our children are grown, we still need “Emergency Contacts”!! I discovered this recently when I had to call 911 and have my husband rushed to the emergency room because (we later discovered) his heart was stopping and he needed a pacemaker. Our son and his family who had lived near us for the past 6 years had recently moved and when the hospital asked for a local emergency contact other than myself, I didn’t know who to put on that empty line!!! Thankfully, after a few moments of grieving over the empty line, several good friends names popped in my head and I filled the empty line. Your blog post brought all those memories back – and the realization of how important our emergency contacts are in our lives!!

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    Kim says

    I had coffe today with the very Jane who will be your new emergency contact!
    I live in the area you are moving to and I can assure you that even though it will be difficult to leave your current home and friends you will have no trouble finding new friends for your children and a loving and supportive network among the parents in the school district.
    Best of luck to your family, and I hope, through our mutual friend Jane M. to meet you once you are here and am happy to point you toward all the “good stuff” around here!

  59. 84

    Marcy says

    Thank you for your post! We are in the middle of moving now, and although we are only moving 30 minutes away from our current place, so much will change, including schools and church congregation. We are excited, but I am incredibly nervous. Our current church congregation is so understanding and accepting of my four children, 3 of whom are special needs. All 3 were recently diagnosed, and one is awaiting further evaluation. We are still trying to figure out what is needed and what works. I am grateful we will still be able to keep their therapists in the private sector. We will lose one therapist that we get through the school district since we will be in a new district, but chances were pretty good my son wouldn’t have her next year anyway. My oldest is 5 and will be in Kindergarten next year. She has had an amazing PreK teacher who desperately wanted my twin boys in her PreK class next year. With our move, though, that won’t be possible. I’m praying we will be able to get them into PreK in the new district. I also have a 1 year old who is displaying many of the same symptoms as the older 3, so I imagine it is only a matter of time before she is diagnosed as well and starts therapy of her own.

    Moving is overwhelming, and I hadn’t even thought about my emergency contacts…now I need to start figuring it out. Thank you for being so real & helping me focus on the important things about moving.

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    This was such a beautiful post. Take heart – it is amazing where help & comfort will come from when you most need it. Let me share a story to show you!
    I am single Mum with 3 children under 8. Late last year my 3 year old boy woke during the night with awful croup and was struggling to get enough. Normally I have croup medicine in the fridge but I had run out this time. After the 1st bout of coughing ended, I knew I had about 20-30 mins until the next began to get medicine. As it was the middle of the night I didn’t want to wake all 3 kids and get them all to the hospital. I rang my parents in a panic (and for advice, as my Mum is a former Nurse), but they live too far away to get there on time.
    What happened next was amazing.
    My Dad called his work (which is my town’s Taxi cab company). The lady on night duty who I’d never met (and who is also a single Mum – her Dad was looking after her kids while she worked) called someone quickly to cover her in the office, drove to my place and stayed there while my daughters slept so that I could take my son to hospital. Her 70 year old Dad stayed longer at her house looking after her children so that she could help a complete stranger.
    These two people who did not know me but who worked with my Dad went out of their way to help me and my children.
    There are wonderful, kind, generous people out there and I have no doubt that your family when met many of them in your new city. And until you meet them, hold each other close until you find your feet in your new life. Good luck! xo

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    Laura says

    As a military spouse, this feeling is all too common. Our family has literally moved from coast to coast (California to North Carolina to California to Maryland) 3 times in the past 9 years. Each time the thought of being able to list ONE Emergency Contact has been stressful! And they want THREE?!?! Thankfully, soon enough the lines all get filled and new friends are made but not without a little sadness at the comfort of what was left behind.

    Thanks for a great post!

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    Gray says

    Hey Rachel,

    This is the first time I have read your blog, and I would like to say that I think this article is fantastic. I’m a teenager who last year left home for boarding school. Talk about not having an emergency contact; I had no contacts there at all! My family was 10 1/2 hours away, and I was freaked out about meeting people as well as losing my emergency contacts back home. Gradually, though, people started to open up to me at school and I began to build friendships. Now I have plenty of friends that I can rely on here, and I still have lots of friends back home that I can talk. Really, when it comes to a big move, there is nothing to worry about; it always works out. My favorite verse that helped me when I left home was James 1:2-3. Best of luck to your family in your big move!

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    Britany says

    Tears! We are 2 years post relocation and the memories of these very thoughts still sting. It has been quite a journey to learn to “grow where you’re planted”….and has taken all of the strength I could muster to keep a brave/happy/joyful face for the kids. We are here. We are settled. We are blessed. We survived! Best of luck on your journey. May it be crazy exciting!

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    Kathleen says

    My dearly loved goddaughter and her mom are moving at the end of the school year. The day I got a call from school that my goddaughter needed to be picked up was when I realized how huge a loss it was going to be for me. I would no longer be there for them on a daily basis and I am going to miss them terribly.

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    Shelley Sherlock says

    This could not have come at a better time. My family is relocating to another state and are experiencing the same feelings as you. As I started to read your blog today I thought – who will be my emergency contact? I know no one. But then I realized I do know someone there and that I will not be alone. Thanks so much for giving me hope in this transition.

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    Debbie says

    This resonates with me. This was the first year I was unable to list my dear mother-in-law as our emergency contact because of her declining health. She needs constant care now. It’s so sad to see how quickly it happened. It was so hard to list other names in her place.

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    Jamie says

    I never, like, ever, comment on things, but this post touched me. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I moved overseas when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child. God placed amazing women in my life that visited me in hospital and brought food. When we moved back to the US, I didn’t know if I would ever have those deep relationships again, but God has shown me His goodness through people here, as well. After our most recent move, I recall how wonderful it felt to have a friend call and ask if she could list me as her emergency contact. I also remember how great it felt to be able to fill in that space. This was such a good reminder for me to continue reaching out to people. I pray that you and your family will build deep relationships in your new community.

  68. 95

    Juli says

    As I sit here reading another lovely entry, I am waiting to lose my best emergency contact. My sister is close to passing away. I am losing my sister. My girls are losing their aunt. WE are losing our emergency contact. I’m reading this at a time when I cannot imagine how we will get to a point to find another emergency contact, who we can trust with our most precious daughters. But, as often is the case when I read your beautiful writing, I will take a breath. I will be grateful that we still have some amazing emergency contacts. I will be thankful for all the years that my sister was my emergency contact, anytime, day or night.

  69. 97

    Jo says

    Thank you for this post! Moving…eek! What a rollercoaster of emotions. We moved three months ago, and even though it was only a little over an hour away from our old home, it was just far enough that we needed to change schools, doctors, churches…and I felt anxious. Anxious for my oldest, who missed his old buddies and all the familiar routines. Worried for my middle little, who thrives on a predictable schedule and is shy and cautious around anything new. Anxious about the unknown. I won’t pretend that the transition has been all sunshine and roses, but we truly love where we have been transplanted. Today, my little guy mentioned a new friend and asked, “Can we live here forever?”

    And I smiled and felt that little knot of tense uncertainty start to unravel. It will be okay. We are home. This is good….it is going to be amazing. And that is what I wish for you.

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    Lisa says

    This is a beautiful blog entry. I’m so glad a friend linked to it on Facebook so I could discover it.

    I am living far from friends and family due to a career move, and it surprised me how stressful it was the first few times I realized that I had no one to write on that line.

    It also reminds me of a dear friend–one of the first I met after moving here. He suffered neglect and abuse as a child, and he brought that damaging baggage with him into adulthood. He pushes everyone away and has no family or friends because he is afraid of being hurt again. But he is loyal and kind when one breaks through the walls he’s put up. We hit it off immediately and became good aquaintances, but it pained me that he couldn’t let go of his loneliness and truly let me earn his trust.

    Several months ago, I received a call from a hospital informing me that he’d been injured in a car accident and had listed me as his emergency contact.

    He recovered with no lasting problems, but I will never be the same. I was touched so deeply by his silent nod to our friendship in the form of him writing my name on that line. It took a different kind of bravery for him to move past his history of pain and grief and trust someone enough to write a name in that space that had been blank for so long. And it was a reminder for me to be an advocate for and friend to the lonely, downtrodden and injured.

    Thanks again for your thoughts. Good luck with your move.

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    Alison says

    Hey Rachel, I spotted a link on a friends Facebook page and found myself reading something very pertinent to my family and I at the moment. This summer we will be relocating from the UK to Switzerland, so I totally identify with your position. As I write I am on ‘holiday’ in Switzerland visiting my husband ( he has already moved), while two of my kids have a day in their soon to be school. Your words struck a chord, there is excitement and anxiety all rolled up together, but what is true is home is where your family is, and together we will build a new extended family. Good luck with your adventure!

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    Melissa Burchell says

    Hi Rachel,

    My husband and I have moved over 7 times in 10 years!! and we are about to do it again in four weeks time. We have four beautiful boys, who are scared and excited about the next move. I am so happy and relieved to read about this, oh those three lines. To the point I hated filling out forms, because it reminded me every time. ‘Oh that’s right you’re alone’. We too are more open with letting people in now (ok a few bad experiences) but mainly people are so happy to help out and the look in their eyes for you to ask this person you have just meet but have a connection with. They are so moved themselves. I find it takes a good two years to make that deep connection and that’s exactly when we have to move. So hoping to stay in the one spot longer this time. Good luck, I know exactly what you’re going through. Keep your mind and heart open. X

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    Hi Rachel,
    Loved your story! I just had to share my “Emergency Contact” story…My husband, first grade son and I had just moved from the oh-so friendly Midwest to Southern California, where we knew no one. The first day of school all the moms and kids were waiting in a line outside the classroom. The teacher comes out and finds me and my son, and very loudly says “You don’t have an Emergency Contact on your form, you HAVE to have an Emergency Contact”. I was almost in tears as this had been a reluctant move and was feeling very alone with all my friends being back in the Midwest. I explained to her, with all the other moms staring at me, that I didn’t know anyone here. After a short pause, that felt like forever, one of the moms came over to me and asked my name and where we lived, which turned out be just around the corner from her. She said she would be my Emergency Contact! That little gesture of kindness meant so much to me. We became fast friends and I learned that she was a single mom with her own business and had an only son, like me. Our sons became best friends and like brothers to each other. I would take her son and mine on adventures around town when school was off so she could continue working. A couple of years later we ended up moving again, back to the Midwest but her and I remained close and talked on the phone frequently. Sadly she passed away (Cancer) a couple of years ago. I miss her terribly and I have always held her dear to my heart because of what she did that day for me, becoming my Emergency Contact. Now she’s my angel in heaven.

    • 106


      Thank you for sharing this beautiful story–it reminds us so powerful how one person can make a HUGE impact. I hope I will always step forward like your precious friend did. I am so sorry for your loss. She lives on in this beautiful story you tell.

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    Beth says

    Thank you so much for this. Literally could not have come at a better time as we also are making a big move and the For Sale sign went up last weekend. While I am excited about this new adventure, the thought of leaving our family and our friends who might as well be our family absolutely breaks my heart. We do not have an “Aunt Jane” where we are moving, so our Emergency Contact might remain blank for a bit, but you helped me to realize that those lines WILL be filled eventually. THANK YOU!

  75. 108

    Lori Kennedy says

    Wow, this post really got the tears flowing!! Thank you, Rachel. My husband and I have lived away from family for a long time, and we very recently moved to the DC area, which is VERY far from home for us! Right as we were moving, I found out I was expecting my 3rd child. Our families were here for his birth, which was such a blessing. Shortly after he was born, I ended up back in the hospital twice, and it was then that I realized just how much I missed being near my mom and my best girlfriends. The last couple of months have been a real challenge in learning how to deal with the loneliness that I have felt. But looking back on the last year, which has probably been the hardest of my life, I see that God put people in my life RIGHT when I needed them. He put girlfriends in my path right away that are becoming wonderful friends…and even emergency contacts! People that my husband and I felt comfortable dropping our 3 kids off on a moment’s notice so that he could be with me in the hospital. So I completely hear you…it is hard!! And there are times that I just wish I could hop in the car and go see my mom. But the truth of it is that God is doing wonderful things in our life in this season and in this place, and I’m confident that I will look back on this time and remember it as a very rich relational time for our family. Blessings to you in your new adventure!!

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    If you are moving to the Pittsburgh, PA area, I would love to be your emergency contact! If you say where you are moving to, you might be surprised at how many friends of friends live close enough! As an only child, who married an only child, the emergency contact idea is one I think about a lot. I hope your family loves your new home and makes many cherished friendships!

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    EL says

    I have never been so compelled to write a comment on ANYTHING. But, this time, you see, you have definitely struck a chord. We, too, are moving at the end of the school year and I have that same blank line on the forms for the new school. As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, I am comforted by your positivity. I have been working ( pretty hard actually) to embrace our move and to be positive. I will surely meet someone quickly who can be an emergency contact. Where we are going seems like a great place with great people, but I am sooo sad to leave behind many emergency contacts. It’s the hardest part. now I know one more thing to pray for….new emergency contacts, for both you and me:)

    • 111


      Thank you, friend. I feel so comforted knowing my heart and your heart are feeling similar emotions. I will be thinking of you and praying for you as well. Thank you for taking the time to leave this comment. I feel hopeful for us.

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    Charisse says

    I have never been here before, but a friend shared this post on her FB with her sister, and since I consider them both very dear childhood friends, I wanted to come read this. I am glad I did. I have been without emergency contacts before and it was very disheartening and almost shameful. I am thankful now to have a very small number of just such people, yet my life is so rich. And I know that while those people are there for me and my family, we are also there for them…building our own small community within this town.

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    Ben Geist says

    Wow. A friend posted this on Facebook and I’m glad I read it. I’m not a parent yet but I love kids and have been working with them more and more recently. I also had some good friends move recently and I’ve just started some college classes so I can actually pursue a career as a guidance counselor (or something similar).

    Anyway, my point is this: Your post was very touching and well written. Thank you for sharing with all of us=]

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    Heidi says

    I remember having to move when I was a kid, it’s definitely tough, but you do make new friends.

    As a young adult I had a friend who was going to move to another state and she said, Don’t worry about me, I have lots of friends waiting for me there. I asked, You know people there already? She said, Well, I don’t know their names yet, but I know there are people there who will become my friends.

    I have always remembered that in subsequent moves. It helps to remember that and it’s nice to know the circle of friends just gets bigger as you add new friends to your existing ones. Blessings on your move. Hope you have a smooth transition!

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    Carmel J. says

    The emergency contact lines were the hardest for me, too. We had to fill out the forms on the first evening of school, one week after the moving truck delivered out stuff. I was glad I had met the neighbors (and that they seemed nice enough) so I had a name to put down at all. Wow, was that a lonely time!

  82. 116

    Mike says

    When I was little my parents gave me a “super secret code word”, 5 people knew it besides myself and parents; my own brother didn’t even know about it until we were grown (he had his own which I didn’t know about). My gparents, non-related “aunt and uncle”, god mom and god dad were it. If some emergency happened and they needed to pick me up and they didn’t say the word, I was supposed to run home as fast as I could. They even tested me on it a couple of times.

  83. 117

    Tina says

    Thank you so much for sharing Emergency Contact! I could relate completely to your situation and I couldn’t help but tear up as I am reading your words. My husband and I have moved many times throughout our marriage but this last move this past summer to a new area was by far the hardest because our girls had established friendships that they had a hard time leaving along with the wonderful friends I had made and trusted and could rely on to help at any time. The emergency contact box was empty when my girls started school this year but since then I have managed to find a few people I can trust with my girls if I couldn’t get to them for some reason. I enjoy your posts so much. Hope your new transition goes well for you and your family.

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    Jeanine says

    What a beautiful page you have created. I saw it on Vicky Stenger Goodloe’s FB page. I am all alone here and have an emergency contact. I am blessed to have found my dear Nela.

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    Jill says

    Wow, what a post! A great-aunt of mine posted this on my facebook wall. I cried through the first half of it. Almost two years ago we moved 9 hours from the only place my husband, our 3 daughters (ages at that time 14, 11, and 9), and I have ever called home. Our large families and friends all lived very close. I had a great job in a wonderful school district. But my husband had lost his job almost 6 years before that and no one would hire him that was within driving distance. My little income was barely paying the mortgage and we were down to pennies. We made the heartbreaking decision to look throughout the U.S. and very quickly he was hired by a great company and we were moving away from home to a state we had never been to before. We moved from the quiet farm land to a county of over 500,000 people. It was a hard shock on our girls and me. As I enrolled them in school, I left the emergency contact blank. There was no one local to put on it. I told the schools we knew nobody. They were understanding about it, with the area being one that families move into all the time. We did find a church right away. I got hired very quickly, but not knowing it was going to be a very rough situation. We had only been here a few short months when my husband (who was 37) went to the ER with unexplained chest pain. Four days later he was having double bypass surgery, after trying to do stints was unsuccessful. Two of the three main arteries were completely blocked at the top. Doctors were telling me I should be thankful he was still alive (I am, everyday before and since). I sat in the hospital those days just dumbstruck by what was going on (as there had been no pre-existing symptoms, no family history, or warning signs) and feeling so completely alone. Yes I knew people back in our home state were praying for us, which helped. The members of the church we were going to here checked in with me a few times, but I barely knew them so I kept up my guard. There was one family from the church I felt comfortable enough with who through this situation forced me to trust them with my daughters. My husband came through surgery really well. He has been doing great since that time, with only one hospital stay since. I switched jobs and love where I am at. Our girls have adjusted from a little country school corporation to one that is ridiculously huge. We have made some friends whom we are thankful for daily. Yes we miss our lives and everyone back in our home state, that will never change. We have to take what we are given and try to make the best of it. We have one life on this earth.

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    Elisabeth says

    Wow. This post is so timely for me and my little family! My husband’s job is taking us out of state and it is definitely turning our world around. I have so many mixed emotions about it and don’t have any friends (yet) in Nevada. This is one more reason I strongly relate to you and your posts! (Other reasons include past Special Education teachers, Mamas, lovers of children, moments and nature.) We will soon find others like us to love and trust in our new homes!

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    Have you ever thought about writing an ebook
    or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based upon on
    the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share
    some stories/information. I know my readers would enjoy your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

  88. 123


    I know I’m late to the party on this post but… Yes!

    My husband and I have always lived far from family, so we’ve used church friends as emergency contacts. We have been so blessed to have folks willing and able to be our village (it takes a village to raise a child).

    We just recently had an excellent job prospect that would have brought us “home”. Family could be our emergency contacts. It fell through.

    I might have cried a little. Or a lot.

    But this reminds me that I’m so lucky to have found good emergency contacts right after moving here. Folks that didn’t know me at all and how jumped to offer assistance, who gave me their drivers license number!!

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    Keri Tracy says

    Are you moving to Florida anywhere? Or I should say DID you move to FL? I would looooove love to be your friend and meet up! If you are anywhere near the West Coast of Florida , you will not be alone, I have a great church and a great group of girlfriends!

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    Our dear mutual friend Kristin is my emergency contact. Even though we’ve lived here for years, it’s hard to find someone between jobs and across-town locations. This was lovely.

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      Thank you for the kind comment, Leigh Ann. I love to know the connection we have through Kristin. Even though she and I live in different states, I definitely think of Kristin as one of my emergency contacts.

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    Stephanie Gibbs says

    Yes!! We are a military family who has moved so. many. times. and I can tell you the emergency contacts thing is awful. I have had to leave them blank, put my spouse’s boss down (just b/c I figured he would be able to track down my husband in an emergency), and people I had literally met days before, praying they were a safe choice. Thankfully, I’ve never had to use any of my emergency contacts. There is nothing quite like meeting a neighbor or someone in a grocery store and asking “I know we just met but can I get your phone number and put you down as an emergency contact for my kids’ school forms?” Trust me…the emergency contact form is the repeated slap in the face every time we move. I’m glad you are in a different place emotionally than you were before and immediately after the move. We’ve been at our current assignment a little over two years and I have some great ER contacts now, as well as being one for a few friends myself. It’s kind of like that form is a scientific measure of how well or not I’ve acclimated to my new surroundings. Next school year we’ll be in another new and unfamiliar place and I already dread that form.

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    Deborah says

    Thank you. I am in that inbetween place once again. Leaving my loved ones, my emergency contacts, to a place far far away with people I know, but not sure I trust with that title.
    I know God will provide. We are not alone in our emotions and experiences.
    Thank you for sharing your journey.

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    Lori says

    I enjoy reading your posts. We unexpectadley had to move from our home we built for our family for a job over Christmas break 2012 and did not have time to feel anything but the urgency to complete the move and school transfers. It was wild later to realize we moved and all 6 of us were fine. But then a wierd greif sat in I was not ready for or even expected. It is nice to read your thoughts as I had not and have not came across anyone in my personal life outside of my husband who understands or relates to this empty feeling. I still tear up a bit when I explain we are new or not from here. But we are still us and do our stuff, just still, it is not home yet.

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      Thank you, Lori, for letting me know my post resonated with you today. I usually tell myself no one wants to read posts I already shared, but I had this nagging feeling someone needed this today. I am glad to know it made you feel less alone. I keep wondering when my new place will feel like home. I try to focus on the positives, but there are just some things still missing. I am giving myself time to adjust and I let myself be sad sometimes. I pray that you will have moments when you feel a sense of comfort in knowing you are where you are supposed to be. That can be very assuring in situations like this. Thank you for connecting with me today. It has lifted my heart.

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    Shilps says

    Hi Rachael, I love to read your articles specially because they nearly always address some or the other situation we are going through and they touch chord in the heart. Though I haven ‘t had to use my emergency contact as yet, but your article makes me feel thankful for having that one person I would trust my precious one with, blindly. Love you and keep up the good work.

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    Sherry Yonkman says

    Oh, I remember, I remember! We’ve moved our children twice, much too far to visit the friends we left behind. It was heartbreaking both times. Just before our first move, our kids were 5 and 6 years old and really struggling with it. Out of the blue one day, our doorbell rang. A lovely lady from our community had come to see my children. She told them that God knew they were sad to be leaving their friends behind, but that He had personally picked out all the friends they were going to make in the new town. Those friends were already there, just waiting to be discovered. It would be like a treasure hunt for them. In a few minutes, this kind lady turned my kids’ fear and anxiety completely around, and I’ll be thankful to her forever.

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    rebekah v says

    this story hit so close to home for me, my sister has always been my emergency contact, around the time that I was expecting our third baby, she took a teaching position in Chile.
    as I got closer to delivery I got more more worried who would take the older two kids while I was in the hospital, who could I call in the middle of the nigh if I went into
    labor. my husband and I discussed it and very quickly realized we had a great group of friends that would be more than willing to help.we asked some dear friends, and they were more than willing to help. when the time came to have the baby I was induced and we were at the hospital for thre days! it was so comforting to know that our children were in good hands.
    at the term” emergency contact” really took on new meaning
    when the baby was three days old.
    my has been dropped me and our baby boy at the doctors for his 3 day check up and took the older two kids for some much needed playtime at the park.
    with in just a few minutes the emergency happened the baby was having seizures and stop breathing, paramedics were on the way and I frantically begin texting and calling
    my husband. arrived at the doctors office with the kids the paramedics were already on site, trying to stabilize our baby. a nurse looked at me and said do you have anyone that could take your older children. suddenly I felt panic who do we call my parents are three hours away, my in laws in another state and my sister another country. without hesitating my husband pick up the phone and called juvy and Miranda. she wasn’t home she was on her way to a baby shower for our friend, but who be dropped everything loaded his three kids into the car a met us at the emergency room. we get in the spare key they got clothes for the kids over the next nine days if the baby was in the hospital in a different city they cared for our children as their own. Day in and day out, at the drop of a hat a moment’s notice they were there.
    as I stood by my 3 day old baby’s hospital bed, watching fight for his life, it was so comforting to know that my other two children were being so well cared for by such loving friends.
    “Emergency contact” of the year award goes to them for sure!
    Our son is now 8 months old and has made a miraculous recovery and is beating all the doctors expectations!
    My husband and I are eternally grateful the juvy, miranda and their family.

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    Jenae Merrill says

    Rachel, I have often visited your blog and read your beautiful words.Thank you for always taking the time to write and share moments in time that we can all relate to. Thank you for always helping others stop and cherish the moments of our journey.You have a beautiful way with your thoughts and and ideas you share. Thank you.
    We are also a military Family and have often crossed this bridge,many times in our lives. We are again preparing for another move here in a few months and though I love making new friends it does make your heart hurt to say goodbye to those you love and the friends who will do anything for you.As I was thinking about your post I got thinking of things that have helped me and my family as we have moved every three years.I got thinking about your comment we will find new friends we will find a church. I remember a conversation I once had with a friend(a stranger at the time) who had recently just moved overseas with her little family and was now apart of my circle through our husbands job.
    She said so have you all found a church you like we are looking for one,as we know this is a great place to make friends. Until that moment I had always taken it for granted that I belonged to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints a church that is literally a world wide church.As we move from one place to another we always locate the Lds church in our new area and start going to church and this has always been a place like home, each place we have gone that has become the source of many of our dear friends. I know everyone does not have this in there life to have a family network where ever they go but I have been very blessed to have this in my life. I know that as we all take these new journeys and moves with our families we are all looking for a chruch or playgroups, mommy groups etc that can give us the foundation we are seeking for our family in a new area. I felt I should share this with you if you are looking for a church family you can always call home no matter where you go in the world it is the same. (I know there are alot of amazing churches out there , but it is great to be apart of one that is the same everywhere.) This has brought me a lot of peace in my life as we have moved our family around the world.We are currently preparing for another one of those moments of moving and it will most likely be from one country to another as we are probably headed to Japan. I have already felt that loss of amazing people in my life soon to be gone from me as we move again, but have also already contacted the church I belong to there in Japan, (even though we still have six months.) I have already received welcomes from members there and again feel at peace knowing I will again have another family waiting for me.I know that these times are hard for our families and us, but the most important thing is to find that family network or church etc that works for you and your family. That can help you again find those kindred spirits. In the movie Called the “Five People you meet in Heaven”- there is a quote that says there are no strangers, just friends we have not meet. May you and your family find those dear friends again that God will put in your path. Again thank you for all your beautiful thoughts and words.Grateful you take the time to share them and make a difference to others everyday.

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    Lonnilei says

    We have been in our new location (six hours from dear friends and family) for just a couple months, and I’m still struggling to create a life for us here. I’m trying to be patient and proactive, but it’s hard. I haven’t had occasion to write an emergency contact on a form yet, but I know that it’s coming (and that I don’t have anyone to hold that title yet). As an introvert, it’s been especially challenging to reach out to others and to build new friendships. Thanks for sharing your story and reminding me that we will eventually have connections like the ones we just left. May your transition be smooth, and may you soon have more Emergency Contacts to accompany Aunt Jane’s info.

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    Megan says

    Military families like ours face this constantly. We did it three times by the time my son was 4.5 yrs. We usually don’t have the miracle, “oh I do know someone” happen to us. It’s increasingly difficult to keep putting on a brave face for my son after moving so often. The five moves before he was born were much easier to handle. I was hoping for some from this article but the miracle aunt made me realize it doesn’t exist.

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    Kay says

    A friend sent me a link to this post a while ago and I’d almost forgoten about it. I see why she sent it to me. I’ve always said “I’m not a big fan of the town we live in. But I’m so attached to my kids doctors and their school as well as the friends we have through the school. It gives me such comfort knowing there are people I trust to rely on if I need them.” There are a lot who don’t understand why I feel the way I do. We’ve moved a few times around town, but I always keep it in the school district so my kids can continue at the school they’ve grown up at. It feels like a family there with the parents and teachers.
    This post brought tears to my eyes and made me see it so much clearer. My children and their well-being and comfort and acceptance for who the are, is monumentally important to me. As an extension, so are their friends, and families, and so forth.
    Also, the mention you made about there being more to you than the flaws and failures. What a wonderful reminder. Thats something that is too easy for moms to forget while juggling being the CEO of the home. Im so happy I read this this morning. It was the pefect way to start my day.
    Hope you and yours are doing well.
    Thank you!

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    Debbiej says

    I belatedly came across your information and just HAD to reply. When my 2 kids were young both were “disabled”. My son is doing well now.
    My daughter is on the autism spectrum complicated by a premature birth, ( 12 weeks early), learning disabilities, neurological problems and other health concerns. My yearly problems with respect to the “emergency call lists”, was that no one wanted my name on their lists because my kids were ‘different’. The children made the decisions and their parents went along with their kids’ decisions with only 0ne exception, until I got involved with SEPTA, (Special Education Parent Teacher Association). I was usually all alone. I needed support. But I always made sure my kids had the self confidence to go where ever they wanted to go whenever they wanted to go. And if it was necessary for them to go alone, they did.
    I plan to purchase your book ASAP. I’m curious to see how the rest of the world lives.
    I very much enjoyed reading the previous posts and plan to finish ALL of them. Thank you. Debbie.


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