home for a little longer

This is the fourth house we've called home since tying the knot. This is the fourth house Tommy has called home since he was born. He's only six years old, that's a lot of moving! I sometimes wonder when we settle down next year with no expiration date or looming move on the horizon if I will feel restless. If I'll ever fully, definitively be able to say "yes, I'm from here" about some future home and not include a bunch of caveats and an unasked for long-winded explanation of all the stops we took along the way. Each home is marked by milestones and core memories tied up in a location and a season we lived in and then left behind. Newlyweds, new parents, new babies, all identified by the changing landscapes in the background of photographs. 

There are certainly perks to moving as frequently as we have. I love purging our house of clutter every couple years. Anything that sat untouched in our garage or a kitchen drawer (plus that particularly obnoxious toy you're hoping they won't notice is missing) gets chucked or donated. We get to lighten our load and carry on to the next house. My in laws have held on to most of my husband and sister in law's childhood toys and books, homemade halloween costumes. You name it, my kids want to play with it. Every time we visit they bring out big rubbermaid bins of old hot wheels and action figures and interrogate T.J. on their names. They can't fathom why he can't recall in detail the special skills of each every villain and Ninja Turtle and Power Ranger. My parents on the other hand have an entire 90s catalog's worth of American Girl dolls and furnishings I know a certain granddaughter of their's will love some day. I think about my own future grandchildren and make a mental note not to toss every toy as the kids outgrow them and we move again. 

We have been residents of Cincinnati since T.J. completed his Army commitment last summer.  And what was supposed to be just a quick year-long stop before we moved on to our next adventure has turned into something I did not expect at all. No offense to Cincinnati but I had very meh opinions and pre-conceived notions about what this city and this year would be like for us.  When TJ applied for fellowship spots this was not even on our radar and when he got it I had to work a little harder than usual to psych myself up for this move. With low expectations I reminded myself that I can do anything for a year, I would focus on our family, starting homeschool, and then it would be on to bigger and better!

We knew next to nothing about the area before we arrived. We spontaneously came up for a visit one weekend about a year before our move and drove around aimlessly, picking random neighborhoods to meander through, making wild guesses about where we should/would/could live. It's just a year right? It doesn't have to be perfect. 

But then we got here. And it has been just the most pleasant surprise. Our rental house, secured through obscure facebook connections and coincidences and providential timing. Our neighbors, built in friends, a gaggle of kids the same age as our kids,  easy text messages saying "we're putting on our shoes, we'll meet you outside." Our church, so solid, so welcoming. The city with more parks than we'll ever have enough time to visit, and the best zoo, and museums, and restaurants.  Cincinnati really should work on its marketing. Or maybe not? Maybe that's the strategy to keep it like a secret. Or maybe everyone but us already knew all this and we were just clueless. All I know is we have had our prayers answered abundantly. Like we have every other time we've moved before. I really should stop being so surprised. God is always faithful. He goes before us. 

The opportunity to live across the country and around the world means we have friends scattered hither and yon and we'll add our collection of precious people here in Cincinnati to the list of people we hope will visit us someday and we can reminisce about a sweet year spent as neighbors. 

And now we're on the downward slope to the next move. Our rental house has new owners lined up. "But it's our house." My middle son comments. "Yes it is. Although technically it's not and we're moving to England soon so when we leave a new family will live here." I explain as gently as I can. They get it, even if they don't. They're learning at a young age that home is something you carry with you, something you can craft, and claim for yourself in any number of places and circumstances.


Every time we move I promise myself I won't live as though we're leaving in an ever decreasing number of months (less than two now). I'll pour out myself into this new community, get involved, soak in as much as I can until the moving truck pulls away. It's what makes every new place exciting, every friend made precious, and every place feel like home for however little or long we're there. Cincinnati has been no exception. Of course all of those things are what also make it so dang hard to say goodbye. 

Comments

  1. I'm from central Ohio (30 miles east of Columbus) and always said IF I ever went back to Ohio to live, it would be in or near Cincinnati. The most beautiful part of Ohio is along the River. I'm excited for you to be revisiting your old home in England and I'm looking forward to a post now and then to let us know how you are doing there!! Hugs!!

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  2. As your middle son would also say, 'It's all so bittersweet' Cheers to your next fun thing! And know I'll have a big glass of sweet tea poured and ready to welcome you when you land 'at home'.

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