I have thought about moving many times. I would move for more land, a town without so many political scandals, more services for our tax dollar, better land management, cleaner parks and beaches. There is one town I would love to live in that is on the rail line and even closer to some of our many activities. I have even called the Realtor who sold us this house 13 years ago to see how it would fare on the market in today’s economy.
Something always holds me back and I never could quite figure out what it was. I have friends who have moved, some many times. I myself have moved several times. The first move came when I was in 6th grade, younger than Grace is now. The second came days after I graduated high school and the third when I moved to CT after graduating college. These were big moves, across state lines, into new communities where we knew no one. What I am thinking of is small in comparison. But yet, I hesitate.
Writing yesterday’s post I realized why. I want my children to have a home to call their own. A home that they can come home to when they are 20, 30, 40. A place to house their collective memories so when we gather they can remember the times we walked around the neighborhood after storms, the times we walked to Main Street for ice cream or a burger, the times we have a spontaneous dinner with our neighbors, the times we laughed together, cried together, shared meals together, watched movies together, swam together, played with the dogs together. The times we were together.
I realize that all this can happen in another place, another home. I know that home is not the house, it is where your loved ones gather. But this home is part of our story. So much has been invested into it. We have spent thirteen years making it our own. The woman we purchased it from spent 50 years here and sold it to us simply because she could see Greg and I raising a family here and loving her home as much as she did. I like to think that while we have made changes, our house is filled with love much the same as it was when her six children ran through it. This is the home I brought my babies home to. This is the home we painstakingly remodeled with new floors, windows, plumbing and wiring, siding, roofing, a new furnace, a bathroom remodel, a kitchen remodel, an updated family room (now art studio) and we are not done yet. We have landscaping to do, an attic to transform, masonry work to address, another bathroom desperately in need up new fixtures, and there is always a room begging for a fresh coat of paint......
Then there is the familiarity that living in one place for a long period of time brings. We know our neighbors. We may not be friends with all of them, but we know who is having babies, who has a sick spouse, whose child is crying for their mother in the middle of the night and whose child is home from college for the summer. We know by the sound of the motor who is leaving for work and who is returning. We know which bark belongs to which dog. There is peace in the familiar. I find comfort in it as well.
I don’t know if Grace or Lilah will ever want to live as an adult in this house. I can say with certainty that Greg and I will not retire here. The taxes are too high, the house too cumbersome with the constant maintenance needs. So then why am I so reluctant to follow up with my call to the realtor and schedule the appointment? We can make new memories in a new home, in a new town.....right? I guess it is not our time yet. For now our time is still here. Here in the town I love yet hate. Here in the neighborhood where my daughters learned how to ride their bike, walked their dogs, went to school, played in the park and skinned their knees. This is home. This has been our home for a long time. This has been the longest I have ever lived in one house. I think it may be for Greg too. It is not time to say goodbye.