Friday, April 15, 2016

All Roads Lead Home

More A-Z Blog Challenge here today...

In our almost 32 years of married life hubs and I have lived in two apartments, one townhome, one rented home, five purchased homes, and we're currently building a house. Ten cities, seven states, two countries and a partridge in a pear tree.

M is for Moving

The words moving and home go together, or at least they do when you're us. We've moved a lot and when people hear we've moved a lot they react. I thought today would be a good day to talk about some of the common pronouncements people make when it comes to moving.  

'Oh I could never move like that.'

Yes you COULD. You might not want to move, but you can move. There are of course a few exceptions, poor health being one, but on the whole people who say this to me don't want to move because they like their life the way it is thank you very much.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I get it, I really, really do. Perhaps no one understands the emotional attachment we form with our homes and our towns and our people more so than a person who has moved several times.

Ask me how many times I've wanted to move.
On the front end? None.
In hindsight? Every time.  

Our moves for the most part have been job transfers or promotions so we had a lot of practical help in terms of relocation assistance. In the end though, it's still you picking up your entire life and setting it down someplace else. Your life won't look the same and you won't be the same which is neither good nor bad. It's what you make it. You may have no say in where you move next and you may have no say in when you move next, but you have all the say in how you see it.

There is no escaping knowing yourself a little bit better with every move you make. 

You can write that in pen. 

'I could never leave my (family, friends, church, job, place where I grew up) fill in the blank.'  

Wrenching. The first word that springs to mind when I think of moving from a place I love or a neighborhood/church/town where I've set down roots. I've cried in every driveway I've pulled away from.  We're moving to Ohio? Whaaaaa! We're leaving Ohio? Whaaaaa!  There are friends and churches and jobs waiting for you everywhere you roam. You don't want to admit it when you're being crow-barred out of a place, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Family is a different kettle of fish. My family is my family and whether I'm one mile away or a thousand they're constant and solid because they're my family. Figuratively they never move. Hubs and I both say one of the best gifts our parents gave us was the gift of wings. Go, do, be, grow, explore, see, learn..but don't forget who grew you up. 

The idea of missing someone or something is interesting to me. Missing somehow makes a person or place more dear to me. Sometimes leaving something or someone behind forces you to look it in the eye and acknowledge how very important it is to you. I take less for granted and treasure what's left behind more deeply than if I'd never said goodbye.

'Why would you want to leave here?'

Well a lot of times you don't want to leave here. But you're a grown up and your husband's job says we want you there, which means you have to leave here. 

'We'd like to move, but need to wait until our kids are out of high school.'

I'm just going to tell you this one is not true. I know people think it is and I hear it a lot, but kids are absolutely full of surprises. Be willing to consider the alternative. Moving your teenagers in the middle of high school might be one of the best things you ever do for them. It is completely possible.

The thing about moving is you don't know what's on the other side until you're on the other side. From the front end it's all one big blurry question mark. Will my child make friends? make the wrong friends? make the football team? is there a football team? will they become withdrawn? rebellious? angry? sad?

Will they hate me? Will they forgive me?

First of all parents everywhere ask themselves these questions, move or no move, so don't lose perspective. Some behaviors might be attributed to a move, and some you need to chalk up to the highs and lows of ordinary teenage life.

Parents, and moms in particular I think, have so much power here. You might hate this new house with a passion, you might not be able to find your way around this new town, you might be feeling a little bit insecure in the new friends department yourself, but put on a happy face for the sake of your children.

I know some people will say that's phony or not being real somehow, but in my experience if you look for the bright spots, if you view this new situation as an adventure rather than a punishment, you will one day wake up and actually feel the happy face you've pretended to feel. It won't do anyone any good if mom lays on the couch all afternoon eating ice cream from the tub.

Come up with a plan. Join something. Get out of the house. Exercise. Explore your new city together. As the parent you might need to extend yourself somewhere in order to meet other parents with similar aged kids so you can invite them all over for a 'play date'.

Moms in new cities need play dates every bit as much as their teens.

I'm not by any means saying don't acknowledge your kids unhappiness, but don't dwell on it either. And no matter how they choose to remember their previous home/school/relationships those were likely not all roses all the time either. Sometimes it helps to gently remind them of that.

Sometimes you need to remind yourself  too.

'There's no where in the world I'd rather live.' This place is perfect.'

Ha. I love my friends who think where they live is perfect. I have lived in several perfect places now. Just sayin'. 

'You're crazy/restless/brave.'

Only when I have to be. 


  1. We have moved a lot too and I have loved it for the most part. I always found that once we had a house in the new city and I could picture myself there then I was ok. Our next move will be the first one without relocation help - yikes!

  2. Great post babe. Glad we road the ride together. You made it fun. Xoxox

  3. I enjoyed reading this. We got a lot of flack when we moved to Florida almost 27 years ago...away from our boys, our siblings and their kids. How could we do that?! There is no guarantee that the kids won't move away, so staying to be close to them is just silly. Take the leap! Live life and enjoy each experience. Home is always where your heart is, and that can be spread all over the place!

  4. This was a very good read! You are a wiser woman because of all of your moves!!

  5. Excellent post, as usual, Joyce. This should be posted in the CAWC page for those new mums, families with kids of any age.
    I have moved in 33 years only 7 times, lived in three countries (Mexico, Brussels and London). And same as you, I have always believed that if you put on a 'happy' face children will be happy too. When hubs go to work it is up to us - the mothers- to open up the social life - for our own sake and that of the whole family. That's our job. Housework is done wherever you live. And especially for those mothers who work on their own cities and then have to move -and no work permit for them- the SOCIAL bit is down to us.... open up the house, join clubs, groups, gyms... enrol the kids in whatever extracurricular activity as long as they are occupied.... PLUS if in the transition they can LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE.... even better.
    Well done. And it is always a pleasure to read you! Lety xx

  6. Great post, from a person that has moved six times during my marriage. I have one friend who has lived in her town her whole life. She said she could never move around the country like we did. I loved it. It made life exciting. Have a good weekend!

  7. Mister and I were born, raised and lived in the same area until we were 52. Then a job moved us to another state. It was a wonderful adventure, though we missed our family terribly. Now, 13 years later, we've moved yet again. So, even old dogs can make a move if need be, though I'm finding it quite difficult to make friends since we have no children at home now. Kids are a great way to become incorporated into a community. Moving isn't always easy but it is an adventure.

  8. Some great advice there Joyce. We will have been married 32 years in June and we've only lived in 2 houses less than a mile apart. Our next move will be difficult. We don't have to contemplate it just yet but I want to be able to do it before circumstances dictate we must. But I should listen to your wise words.

  9. Ditto to all of this. Great post Joyce.

  10. You are so right Joyce. I moved all over the country growing up. I went to 7 schools and moved the middle of my Junior year of high school. I wouldn't take anything for any of the moves and I always just jumped in with both feet and made it work. Hubby and I have not moved much in our 44 years of marriage since he owns his own business. I've enjoyed both. Great post!

  11. We've made decisions three times in 'our' career to either come home or stay put. Once before we were even married and the other two when the kids were really little. I don't regret the non move to NY but I do wish we'd done the London move but at the time the two oldest were toddlers and I was pregnant. I still can't imagine doing that but as usual maturity makes all things look 'easy.' We have however, said if ever again - we're all in! Ha.

  12. We have lived in many places, pulled up roots from places we loved, made adjustments...and all have been good and growing. We are about to make another move, though I'm retired. It will be great, but this move means a new church, and I keep thinking - "Really? Can I, should I, really do that?" But the answer in retrospect has always been "Yes." So we will do it one more time. And it WILL be good, too.
    Donna Smith
    A to Z Challenge and NaPoWriMo
    Mainely Write

  13. This was such a good post with soo much truth in it. I have always admired people with an attitude like yours who can and has done such a thing as MANY moves. I can be such a coward and it has kept us from making major changes over the years at times. My daughter picking up and moving over a thousand miles away after living her WHOLE life in one house [all 21 of them, lol] has given me such a glimpse into it can be done. Watching her last week-end with all of her new friends and neighbors and the life she has made there that is SOOO different from the one she grew up in warmed my heart more then you can know and let me know YES it can be done! Have a good week

  14. I loved reading this! I emailed the link to my sister-in-law, who has also had to move multiple times. The two of you have a lot in common - you have "bloomed where you have been planted."