No, not 56 moves in my life, just since I was 18 years old. The moves include 7 states and 25 different cities. I don’t know how many there were before 18, but I did live in the same house from the time I was 7 until I was 18. And before you ask, no, we were not military.
My first husband changed jobs or went to school just about every year. After my divorce and time being a practicing alcoholic/addict, I moved several times. Recovery brought new challenges included major moves. Divorce added to the numbers. Some moves were temporary while looking for a place to live. Looking at the number of moves, you might say all were temporary. Moving from a temporary situation to a longer term place was exciting. The dream was always the same; I wanted to live in a place long enough to have the Christmas tree up a second year. It didn’t happen very often.
Moving to a new city was the most frustrating. Finding the grocery store, new doctors, registering kids in school, feeling isolated were all part of the move. Up until the past few years, calling family and friends long distance was expensive so calls were on Sunday afternoon and kept to ten minutes. Letters were the best way of keeping in touch before email. I made the decision to make acquaintances and not friends. It was too difficult to keep starting over.
There were some moves that were devastating. I moved from South Carolina to Baltimore, Md. after a divorce where my husband had physical custody of my children. I was heading towards my bottom with my alcoholism and addiction. I left to escape the pain of living and with the smallest glimmer of hope that I could change things. It would be four months before I found my way to recovery.
Leaving Baltimore after three years in recovery was overwhelming. I was leaving the people who had become more than friends. They had helped me get and stay sober. They had cried with me, laughed with me, watch me grow, and supported me in so many ways. I remember standing at the doorway as I left my therapist office for the last time. The tears were burning my face as I struggled to catch my breath. We hugged one last time and I walked away. My daughter had come back to live with me and I was moving to provide a better life for her.
This move was different. I was ready to leave a difficult marriage. I moved into a home with my daughter and son-in-law. We have lived together before and are comfortable together leading our own lives in the same space. I don’t have a three bedroom house with all my stuff. I have given up and let go of a lot. This is home now and I am at peace and comfortable. I haven’t been able to say that for a while.
I have lived in many houses and apartments over the years. Some of them were home while others where just places to eat and sleep. I grew up in a house with my grandparents. It was never home. I spend a great deal of time at my friend Carol’s house. That was home and that was family.
I spend a good deal of time with my friend and her family. Her home is a place I call home as well. Her family is my other family. When I leave her house at night or she is driving home from another destination, we have always text each other. A couple of weeks ago I texted her and said, “I am home…no I am at my house. I just left home.” Perhaps a cliche but we both agreed that “home is where the heart is.”
I feel blessed and grateful to have a place to live that I can call home. I have adult children and grandchildren that I call family. I also have my second home and family. I have a circle of other friends and a church family who make up a larger community in my life. I hope I don’t have to move too many more times in my lifetime, however I am sure I will move again. I just hope it isn’t too soon.