Can We Stay Here?

The house in which I live is my 20th home.  I used to joke and say that if the oven got dirty, it was time to move.  It’s a bigger joke for me, because I so rarely cook anything.  But I have been here for almost 10 years – which is a full 6 years longer than I lived anywhere else.  (I’m not even counting college, when I lived in four different dorm rooms in four years.)

I lived in 9 of those homes before I graduated from high school.  I went to one school for K-2, a different school for grade 3, and another one for grade 4.  I thought we were staying forever when I went to middle school and stayed in one school for grades 5, 6 and 7 – but then we moved – twice – before the end of 8th grade, so I went to two different schools in 8th grade.  Following that, I went to high school (a new school) and moved again after 10th grade, to yet another town and school.  For those who don’t want to figure it out, that’s 8 schools and 9 houses, all before the age of 17.

My boys only know one home.

My kids were both born when we lived in a small rental property, but we moved right after Shane was born to a much larger place – and we haven’t moved since.  I have my husband to credit for this, since the oven has gotten dirty a number of times.  But lately I’ve been thinking, it’s not so bad staying in one place.

The kids have friends they’ve known since kindergarten.  Even with a transfer to the GT school, those kindergarten friends will go to middle school and high school with them (assuming no one moves).  And even with my idiosyncracies, I have made – and kept – friends from when the kids were much younger.

Best of all, the kids are getting up every morning and they know what to expect.  The routines haven’t changed.  The sea of faces are generally the same faces they’ve seen since they started kindergarten.  There are no huge surprises, nothing thrown at them from outside their peripherial vision.  Shane is likely to get some of the same teachers Dylan had – which may or may not be good. And Dylan is likely to graduate with kids from his kindergarten class.

In a way, I envy my own children.  They will have lifelong friendships, and a feeling of stability and security throughout their lives that I never had.  Other than normal school changes – from elementary to middle, for example, when everyone they know is doing it with them – they can go to school knowing what the place looks like, who will be there, how they will be treated, where they need to go.

I used to tell myself that every new school, every new home, was a fresh start.  I had a chance to be someone new, to act a different way, to make more friends and keep them forever.  But the truth is, I was always me.  I never made many friends.  I was always a little weird.  And since I moved repeatedly, I never kept friends forever.

My kids, though, can keep friends forever.  It’s a wonderful thing, being able to offer that to them.  They come home to the same house every day.  It’s something I used to see on TV, on The Brady Bunch and The Waltons and Happy Days.  I’d wonder, what would it be like to come home to the same house every day?

Now I know.  It can get monotonous and routine, but stability is good.  I’m afraid to say I’m enjoying it, because it could be taken from me at any second.  But, quite honestly, I’m enjoying it.  Thanks, God.

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