We knew better than to say never again.
Because our “forever house” kept changing.
Because I grew up with changing definitions of home.
Because there are no guarantees in life.
When we bought our first house in Hobart, Indiana, we knew that it wouldn’t be our forever home. We were in our early 20s and children were down the road. We bought a house that we believed we could grow into, but we didn’t really believe that we would want to stay there forever.
Then when we moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, we bought a true “starter home,” a house that I worked hard to make ours and a house that my husband never loved. The plan had always been to buy a bigger house when we had more than one kid and make that our forever home.
That is probably why, when we found ourselves transferred to Fort Wayne, we searched for the house that would become our forever home. I didn’t want another transition, neither of us wanted to once again do the work that moving required, and we found a house that was a mess but plenty big enough for a growing family with a lot of potential to make it our own.
So when we made the decision to turn our lives upside down and move halfway across the country to Texas, we were clear that we were never moving again. We spent six weeks living in our camper as a family of five (four humans and a dog) and even though we had movers to move us out of our Fort Wayne house and carry our stuff one thousand miles, we weren’t that lucky when we moved into our new house on Labor Day weekend. With help from two friends, we took multiple trips between the tightly packed storage unit and our new house, only to have the skies open up on us on our last load, causing our cheap bookshelves to collapse after being doused by rain.
We weren’t going to do it again.
We should have learned from An American Tail to “Never say never again.” Seriously, we should have. Because when our lives got turned upside-down and I suddenly had to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about what our lives would be, I fought that nagging desire to move back “home.” I fought it with everything I had. I didn’t want to leave our house. I didn’t want to turn our kids’ lives upside down. I didn’t want to deal with all of the hassle of buying and selling and packing. I didn’t want to run away from the very things that were causing me daily heartache.
But we made the decision anyway. It seemed impulsive. It seemed like we hadn’t thought things through. It seemed like we didn’t really know what we were doing. But we did. We were just finally giving in to the very thing that had been staring us straight in the face for months.
But even knowing that you were doing the right thing doesn’t change the fact that moving sucks.
Leaving behind beloved landmarks sucks. Packing up a house that you invested both money and personal labor into making it a home, sucks. Saying goodbye to friends and neighbors who have become “your people” sucks. Watching your kids grieve for lost friends and things, sucks. Finding new doctors and dentists and fulfilling all other medical needs, sucks. Searching for new places to shop and eat and make a part of your regular life, sucks.
We moved ourselves, and if it hadn’t been for my mom flying down from Michigan to help us pack, we don’t know that we ever would have gotten out of Houston. We moved ourselves into our new residence after waiting an extra two weeks for our stuff to arrive at our house which we put an offer on before we ever had a chance to see it in person. I started my new job 12 hours after arriving at my sister’s house, where we stayed for an extra night while we tried to get ourselves situated at a RV campground that made us even more eager to sign for our new house. My husband argued with mortgage lenders to ensure that our closing happened on time so we could get situated into a place where we could each have our own space, even though we wouldn’t have any of our stuff for at least another week. Our dishwasher broke as soon as we moved in and so the mess that our house was going to become once we had our stuff became exacerbated by the fact that our kitchen was overflowing with dirty dishes if we decided to cook at home.
Yeah, we’ve been processing through all of the things related to how much moving sucks.
But now most of the boxes are unpacked. I have five rooms painted to the colors that we want and two more to go. Family photos and wall hangings are finding appropriate locations all over the house. Moving closer meant getting help from a sister and brother-in-law and both sets of parents, all of whom worked to make our house feel so much more like our home so we could get situated earlier.
Yeah, moving sucks, but eventually you get to the other side. There are days when it feels like that will never happen, when it has felt like our house will never be put together and the kids will never adjust to new friends and a new school and that I will be constantly searching for just the right job.
But then we spend a weekend at a soccer tournament with my sister and her family and my daughter glows when she sees her little cousins running towards her as she comes off of the field. Or parents come down for a quick two-day visit and it isn’t a big deal because they are less than a four-hour drive away. Or old friends come over and stay late while our kids finally get to know each other in the way that we had planned our kids would be able to do when we were just entering our 30s and bringing those same babies into the world.
I hate moving. I hate change. But over my lifetime it has brought me experiences and friendships and understanding of the world around me that staying in one place would have never given me.
And remembering all of that makes moving suck just a little bit less, maybe.