My family moved a lot when I was growing up—every year and a half to seven years—and I didn’t like it or the way it affected me. After the first few times, it just becomes a part of who you are. Each time you make new friends, you wonder how long it will be before you say goodbye again, and the feeling of home gets less and less real with each new address. Someone at work asked me once, “Are you going home for the holidays?” I said, “What do you mean by that?”
When I started my own family, I wanted my wife and kids to have a home, not just a series of houses. Let me tell you, there is nothing fancy about the house where our kids were raised and where my wife and I still live. And I’m still finding crazy things the previous owner did himself that he definitely should have hired a professional for. All the same, I’ve already lived there three times longer than anywhere else, and I don’t have any desire to leave. It’s home to me, and I know it was to my kids.
Of course, there can be good reasons for moving, but I firmly believe that sticking around long enough for my kids to go all the way through one school system is one of the most important things I provided them. Growing up in more or less one place gave them solid roots and helped them develop a strong foundation for life. And I couldn’t help but think that, as my kids got older, returning to the home where they had grown up (at the end of the day or the semester or on holidays) provided a refuge for them.
It’s easy to forget that each of us has our own little movie playing in our head, and “moving on up” to a new house that for me says, “I’m a success now” may well say for my kids, “Life as I knew it is over,” “I’ll never see my friends again” or “I don’t belong here.” Our house seems a lot bigger now that they’ve moved out, and they still have a home to come back to…even after they’ve started their own.