Of the 7 years we lived in Virginia, we spent three springs in San Francisco, entire summers traveling from every continent but Antartica and Asia, months at a time in Canada and sprinkled in trips at least once every couple months. O and I made a goal at the start of last year to finally travel less. To say yes to putting down roots and no to frequent flyer miles. To commit to routine for the kids and not jump at every opportunity to make a trip out of something. We wanted the adventure-sure. But it was time to rest for a while. Joke was on us because we moved from Virginia to Texas 4 months later and shortly after that, learned O would be coaching for the AAF in Memphis from January-April. Bags packed. Boxes shipped. On the road again.
I always wanted the forever house. My family moved five times from the time I was a baby to the time I left for college. Lake Forest, Barrington, Barrington again, Baltimore, San Francisco. We left the home my parents built for us to live in forever. The one where I got to choose my bedroom wallpaper (pink cherubs and pink clouds) and my bathroom color (periwinkle tub and periwinkle toilet.) We had an indoor pool. A in-ground trampoline and a playground that the neighborhood kids rode their bike to use.
It was around the time we moved away from the home I thought I’d get married in that I saw the Father of the Bride. Shortly after we meet George Banks and his Aston Martin, we meet the house. The shutters, the symmetry and the fence are a bonus but most of all it was the names carved in the tree. There were pitter pattering toddler feet in that house. Angsty teenage voices in that house. Weddings in that house. I decided then and there, at nine years old, that the forever house life was the only life for me. When I could put down roots, I’d dig them deep and stay anchored right there in that house until the Lord called me home.
Maybe it’s still out there for us. If it is, I’ll cry a good cry of joy and make one of those “Atogwe EST. 2011” signs to hang up and carve our initials into the tree. We’ll etch the kids heights right into the door post and every room will be a “remember when.”
As it stands, though, I’m starting to loosen my grip on that dream.
All of O’s family is in Canada. We have a house on the water I’m committed to spending more time in to be able to deepen relationships with cousins, godparents and siblings, step away from the hustle and bustle and live slower for a while. Ideally, we’d spent part of every year there.
All of my family is in Texas. I love the heat, the southern pace, the accessibility of all our favorite things right at our fingertips and of course, the proximity to loved ones. This is where we’ll do life most of the time.
On top of that, O and I are both adventurers. While I’d love nothing more than to avoid airplanes for the rest of my life, something in me is drawn to seeing the world. Greece, Egypt, The Netherlands, Germany, South Africa…I want to see it all. The beautiful part of this homeschool life is being able to pick up and go whenever we decide and expose these babies to the wonder and vast diversity of God’s creation. This means part of the year will be spent exploring.
The white picket fence feels further than ever.
But the Lord feels near.
We are home when we are together.
Home is always right here.