By the time this is published, my family will be living in a state several states away from the one in which we became a family. We are making this move because we truly believe it is the right one for us. We will be near extended family and will be in a community where my husband has deep roots.
Yet, I feel deep trepidation about this move. It is an uprooting of everything we have built together over the last almost two years. (Has it really been two years? Has it only been two years?) Already, our nascent family has traditions. We have a path around the neighborhood we've been strolling since our baby's colic days. We have our favorite places to eat. We have a library program that we love. I know that a walk to our local library is exactly 2.94 miles round trip and which grocery store sells the rice cakes my son loves at the best price. Every Thanksgiving, we cook a tiny turkey just for ourselves and every Easter, I cook a tiny ham roast from a local farm. It makes me sad that my son will not remember these traditions which are so tied to our current geography.
I know, of course, that our family will simply develop new traditions or, in my husband's case, will re-adopt traditions from his childhood and his family. I think what I will miss will be the freedom we currently feel to make them up as we go along. Once we are in the proximity of our families, ours will not be the only impulses we will need to consider. I also know that those new rituals will be richer because they will be imbued with the love of generations and that our son will grow up knowing both sets of his grandparents far better than he would have had we stayed in our home in Vermont.
Still, I can't help but feel a little sadness and a sudden appreciation for what my mom (and other military spouses) go through. It's hard to uproot the only home your children have ever known and to resurrect them in new locations. It's heartbreaking to make memories that only you will be able to revisit in your own mind. When I was a child, I loved each move our family made. I loved the adventure of starting life over. I loved the idea of wiping the board clean. I realize now that it was my parents who taught me to look at each move in such a positive light. Eight years of living in the same town in Vermont (the longest I have lived anywhere in my thirty years of living so far), has taught me that familiar has its appeal as well.
However, packing up and moving has reminded me of a lesson that I never knew I had learned. Home is not a geographical location. It is not even a physical location. It is, instead, connection with your family. Perhaps that is why I never dreaded moving as a child, but fear it as an adult. When I moved as a child, it was up to my parents to make me feel at home. Now, I must do the job for both myself and my family. As a child, I was virtually oblivious to my surroundings, but I was deeply attuned to the people within my family. I have no idea what the first three or four houses we lived in looked like, but I know exactly what it felt like to watch my brother try to cheat at cards and who will be most likely to help me scheme creative ways to stay in the game monopoly long after my money has run out. I recently saw a decorative pillow in a magazine embroidered with the words "Home is Where Your Mom Is." Now that I am the mom, it is my job to make sure that my little boy learns the same secret lesson I did.