I grew up in a military family, so I’m no stranger to moving. I remember how excited I was the first time, when we flew from North Carolina to Idaho. I remember racing through the house, trying to decide which room would be mine. I remember being overjoyed when I saw the gorgeous rose garden in our backyard. I remember riding (and falling off) my bike with the other neighborhood kids, and plenty of other poignant memories. Yet, somehow – I wasn’t devastated to leave. When we packed up and moved to Washington where my father would attend college, I was sad, but excited. Moving was an adventure! And for the first year, it was an incredible one.
That house we moved to was a child’s dream – nine acres of sprawling grass and trees to be explored alongside our two dogs, and a second story bedroom where I could crawl out my window onto the roof and sit there for hours, reading and watching the sun drift across the sky. But it didn’t last. Within a year, problems with heating had us packing our bags and moving across town where we rebuilt and learned to love our new home. That is, until our landlords decided to move in and we were forced out. After a month of living in a hotel we found a house in the same school district, and it seemed like we were finally settled – until late junior year when I came home from school to find an eviction notice on our door. The house was being sold, and we had twenty days to leave.
This time, I was utterly devastated. We had to leave town and our pets. Everything in my life had been flipped upside down, and I was furious! Months after my new room had been unpacked, it still didn’t feel like mine. I felt like a stranger in my own house, and every time I drove down the main street I felt a surge of resentment – this was NOT where I was supposed to be.
Until finally, driving home one night after an exhausting shift, I felt for the first time a wave of relief – no, happiness – when I saw the city limits sign. Somehow, that small shift in emotion made me realize that I could actually learn to love this place, the way I’d deeply loved all the others. True, it wasn’t ideal, and it wasn’t “fair.” But I still had everything that mattered most – family, education, a job, and the ability to make my own future. I was already making new memories at this new house – I just needed to let go of my resentment long enough to treasure them. A house is built on concrete, but a home is built on love. There are memories, friends, and family to help create that love – but it is WE who decide to make a house a home. It will always be our choice.