My mom was pregnant with me when she and my dad bought their first home in Baltimore. The house was brand new at the time, and I think they thought if it as their starter home. I lived in that same house for 25 years. Except for my for a four-year stint in college housing with roommates, my address was 26 Bantry Court until I got married. (My parents still own that house, though now they rent it out.)
There were times I remember wanting something bigger or fancier than our little townhouse northeast of Baltimore. I wanted a bigger room or a bigger yard or just a house where you couldn't hear your neighbors' conversations through the walls.
Looking back, however, I realize I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. It was our little house---small, but comforting and full of memories. Our bedrooms were so close together that on Christmas Eve my sister Kelly and I would talk through the vents, wondering what magic awaited us in the morning. We ate all our meals in a tiny kitchen...except when guests were visiting and we moved to the dining room and ate with mom's fancy china. In the evenings we'd gather in the basement, play games and watch Wonder Years or The Cosby Show or Family Ties.
It was a warm house---where I always felt at home.
Never having moved as a kid, I imagined my grownup life with kids would be similar. Little three-bedroom house where we would live until we retired.
I couldn't have been more wrong. In a few weeks, we will be moving for the third time in our 10 years of marriage. From Maryland to Pennsylvania to Illinois, and now to Georgia. This will be Julie's third school in four years. We feel terrible for the kids, but each move has kind of been thrust upon us because of Scott's job.
Though it's exhausting and often upsetting to leave somewhere you've come to call home, we try to think of it as our next adventure. We try to sell it to the kids---"Think of all the new friends you'll meet." "It will be nice and warm there." "Maybe we'll have a swimming pool."
No matter how much we sugarcoat it, we know it's not easy. We're leaving. Again.
What we do know, however, is how important it is to rely on each other---just the four of us. Though our kids won't have memories of one special house or neighborhood, and maybe they won't feel completely rooted to a city or town---I hope they feel that home is so much more than just a house.