When you read this, I’ll be hard at work at putting all of my earthly belongings into the back of a big ol’ moving truck in order to take it all out the next day.
As I drove the moving truck to my house yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of every other time I’ve moved during my lifetime.
I’ve moved a lot. By the age of 5, I was already in my third house. There would be another 2 before I turned 14. And then years of moving back and forth from school to home before moving out into my own place, a hotel where I spent the summer after I turned 18. Then back to the dorms, then back home, back to the hotel for a while, before I finally got my first real apartment.
And on and on it goes.
Altogether, I count that I’ve lived in 14 different places, counting all my different dorm rooms as one. If you count all the times I moved between places, as in taking all my stuff home for the summer, or back to school in the fall…well, I’ve moved a lot.
I used to consider myself a nomad, able to fit all my belongings into the back of a car in order to move whenever I may wish next. And I was good at it. I could pack everything up rather quickly.
But, for the past 9 years, I’ve lived in one place. By far the longest I’ve lived in any single location. And that ends today.
But tomorrow morning, all of my belongings will be out of this place I’ve called home for nearly a decade. The only place my three children have ever called home. The place where I’ve grown into a father.
I have this bittersweet feeling as I consider the next few days, the transition to the next place I’ll call home. The place I intend to call home for at least the next 20 years, if not until I die.
The walls here are already empty, the cupboards are bare, and there are boxes everywhere. The telltale signs of yet another move.
It’s funny to me. Something which, at one point in my life, had felt so comfortable, now marks an irreversible change. The death of an era.
For all the battles I’ve had with this house, it has been an important part of my family. The front porch swing where the kids would sit and play for hours on a summer day. The living room where we would create the world’s largest blanket forts during the extremely cold days of winter.
The place where my kids learned to walk, where they learned to talk, where they learned to run, jump, and tickle.
The place my wife and I have made into a home since we moved in as two crazy youngsters all those years ago.
It’s now someone else’s home. Where they will make their own memories. And the house we all grew up in, well, it just won’t quite look the same.
That’s not to say I’m not excited about what the future holds. But there is a certain loss felt as we move from our family home. It has been full of life for so long, and within a couple days, it will be empty. Dark.
Just a house.
The new owner has all sorts of plans for the house, to update the exterior, to refinish the floors, replace the windows, and who knows what else. When she gets done with it, I’m quite certain it won’t even look like the place we’ve called home anymore.
Of course, with the pictures down off the walls, it already doesn’t.
But tomorrow…tomorrow we take all that stuff out of the big ol’ moving truck and we load it up into the new house. We try to figure out how to make our new house feel like a home. Not our old home. Nothing will ever feel quite like that. Our new home. Where new memories will be made. New blanket forts. New swings. New experiences.
Home may be where the heart is…but sometimes the heart misses where home used to be.
Just a little.
And with that, folks, I announce that the next time you hear from me, I’ll officially be country folk.
I hope you like straw hats.