We packed our car, yet again, for the 8th move of the year. One more to go and possibly we would be able to rest for the first time in 12 months. Our family had become accustomed to the packing process, but that never meant we were excited for the execution of it. The three kids proved to be more resilient than my husband and I, that’s for sure. They carried their Disney character mini couches to our van with a pep to their step as they were among the final items packed before we all wiggled in, closed up our two vehicles and hit the road to find another place to call home temporarily.
A year prior, my husband and I made the decision to sell our place. It wasn’t an easy decision as we had lived there for many years and built lots of memories within its walls, but the timing was right, the market was hungry and if we were going to take the leap, we couldn’t overthink it. Within a few weeks of listing, our house sold, and we embarked on fulfilling a dream we had always wished for. We bought a farm and subsequently began building our forever home nestled on the 25.5 acres of heavenly bliss.
As with most things, if we had known what it would take to make our “forever home” come to fruition, we would never have taken the first step. It’s like embarking on a hike in a deep forest. You aren’t fully aware of each twist and turn or the ups and down ahead … but you know that once you start, there’s no turning back. Onward and upward. And with each step on the house build process, we realized that we couldn’t get to the other side without going through the trenches.
Over the course of a year, we lived in various places and with different people, all with the intention of trying to make the best decisions for our family. But as we were packing for the 8th time, I found myself feeling a new level of exhaustion. Building a home is tiring enough – filled with plenty of unexpected stresses. But constantly moving a family of five brought about a new level of exhaustion – one accompanied with a worry on what the ongoing changes could do to our children.
Time and time again, they proved to me that resistance to change isn’t baggage everyone carries. They became invigorated with each move, and this one was even more exciting as we were moving into the basement of our friends’ house until our final move … the 9th one … into our forever home.
I packed all three of our littles into my van, which was filled to the brim with our special necessities such as blankets, stuffed animals and one another. My husband followed us, along with the setting sun, with a SUV filled with food and the rest of the items we needed to get by. We were leaving a rental we had been calling home which was positioned right next to our farm. While we were saying goodbye, we knew it was more of a “see you later” kind of farewell.
As we drove through the winding country roads to our next home adventure, I soaked up the love I was feeling for each of my children who were laughing in the backseat. Their giggles are always infectious and within moments the worry I had around our family making another move so quickly passed, and a new sense of peace filled every piece of my being. And, like a massive wave crashing into the lighthouse’s rocks, I, too, was hit with a force of reality.
I could feel the heavy weight of worry I was carrying on my shoulders, concerned that my kids didn’t have a place to call home. I was fatigued by the stress, concerned that instability would create a whole new set of worries for each. And yet, as I looked in my rearview mirror, each hadn’t a care in the world. In fact, they looked much lighter than me – and I don’t mean in the physical sense.
I could see in their eyes that our move – in and of itself – was meaningless to them. They weren’t hung up on where they’d sleep or how their routines would be impacted. Instead, they were excited about the new journeys that lied ahead, building forts and hosting sleepovers with the friends that we would be staying with. They were antsy about the move, not because they were afraid of it, but rather because they couldn’t wait for it to happen! To them, they were ready to embrace this new home.
Home. That word stuck in my mind as we inched closer to our friend’s abode. When you’ve spent a year with your belongings packed deep in storage and a series of constant moves, you start to question that word that is so important to each of us. Home. While we could see the progress of what we hoped to be our “forever home,” I contemplated if the home I was seeking and the home I was needing were two quite different things. In fact, I realized that they are.
I took a breath of the kid’s excitement and soaked up the truth of what home, for us, truly was. Home doesn’t live within four walls and a series of rooms. It’s not built around a stone fireplace nestled in a living room with detailed trim. Home isn’t found in an open-living concept or in a tiny house. In fact, home isn’t truly a house at all.
As we drove, yet again, toward another move I realized that home was truly something we carry within us. Our family had merely the bare necessities. Food, clothing and a few special items, but beyond that, for a year, we had little else. And yet, we had everything. We had each other. That moment, my heart swelled as I accepted the reason that my kids could embrace yet another move. To them, it wasn’t about having to find another place to call home. To them, we always had home because we always had each other.
The stuff didn’t matter. The place didn’t matter. All that mattered was each of us. And no matter where we were or what we had, home is truly where the heart is.
This holiday season, as you wrap presents and prepare for family gatherings, take a moment to soak up your home. I don’t mean to relish in your place of residence. But rather, embrace the relationships that exist around you. Breathe in the love that you feel (even amongst the family drama). And accept that, no matter what, home isn’t about the stuff … it’s about the people.
We’ve finally moved into our home, and while we couldn’t be more excited, the reality is that we never left our home. We just transported it, yet again, to a new place to create new memories with the same people that matter most.