My mother has told me many times, with an exasperated sigh, that I owe her an address book. In my younger, wilder, and woolier days, I liked to move at the drop of a hat. I’ve zig-zagged along the coast, crossed state lines, sometimes changing addresses multiple times in one year. Her old-school, hand-written address book couldn’t keep up. I suggested, only half-joking, to just keep my address on a Post-It note so she can change it as needed.
My poor cat Tweetie was my sidekick for many road trips, my shotgun companion in countless U-Hauls, and even my travel partner on a plane or two. I joked about getting travel stickers to display on his carrier to document each state and city the fuzzy fellow had been in.
I bounced around like a pinball, even once moving simply to be in a city with a hockey team. (Yes, that’s true. I told you I love hockey, right?)
I didn’t notice when the wheels first started to slow down. When I met Gary, we moved a few times together, but it was always in a relatively small geographic window, not across the state or to another part of the country, as I liked to do before. Then we decided to start laying the groundwork for our future, and we stayed put in a too-small place that let us save up for better things.
It was exhausting when we moved into our first house. We did it completely by ourselves, just the two of us, with no help, and between the two of us, we moved every piece of furniture, every box, and two howling, protesting cats to our new house. I had bruises for weeks, and we made extensive use of ice packs and heating pads for our screaming backs, but each time we walked through that door with another load, we had to smile. This is our home.
Somehow, we managed to keep it a total secret from the kids. They didn’t know we were even looking at houses. We wanted to surprise them. In the weeks leading up to finally getting those keys, it took all the restraint we had not to blurt it out, but we wanted that once-in-a-lifetime moment with them when they first realized it was their home, too.
It couldn’t have gone better if we had scripted it. I will never forget the looks on their faces, or the excited scream when they saw how their bedrooms were decorated, or the hugs and smiles as they raced from room to room, exploring.
Weekends are now gone in a blink of an eye. Gary and I have so many plans for the house and the yard. I am a regular at Home Depot and am even starting to learn what half that stuff is for, and I need a bigger toolbox.
We had to work hard for this. Unlike other people we know, we made this happen entirely for ourselves, by ourselves, and didn’t depend on handouts from others. We are fiercely proud of our home. It is beautiful, and it’s only going to keep getting better. We will make sure of that.
And, of course, my mother can now write my address in ink, because both Gary and I have vowed not to move again for a long, long time!