Sweet Home Alabama (or Canada. . .whatever)

>> Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today I'm participating in Mama's Losin It's writers workshop. The assignment is to write about all the places that I've called home.

I have moved 19 times in my 24 years. It's so crazy I almost don't believe it. I know people who have lived in the same home their entire lives, and I am a little bit envious. They can show me the tree they planted when they were a child, the place where they buried their beloved hamster, and the place where uncle Chester tripped and cut open his forehead when he got wasted at their baby sister's third birthday party. I don't have that--my entire history condensed in the space between four walls. So when I think of the places I've called home, I dont think of buildings, but rather, people.

When I was a little girl I had a friend Tiffany who lived right up the street from me. We ran back and forth to each other's houses all summer and I liked her house best because she had Nintendo. Our families camped together, and they were some of the best vacations I can remember taking. They even out-ranked Disneyworld, because having a friend there makes all the difference. It's the people, not the place.

When we moved away, I had a best friend Molly that I met on the first day of school. She and I were inseparable and even did our third grade speeches about each other. For two years we played together every day, had sleepovers on Saturday nights and spent Friday nights talking to each other on the phone while watching every episode in the TGIF line-up. My mom says she can remember coming into the living room and seeing us just sitting on the couch, hugging.

The next time we moved I didn't have another best friend, and I don't know that I've had one since. I had a schoolmate at our new house who I walked to the community pool with, but I didn't like to sleepover at her house because her mother smoked and she snored like an elephant clearing its nose.

The next neighbourhood we lived in was full of young families with young children, and I got baby-sitting jobs with yuppies who came home 5 hours after they said they would and doubled my pay to make up for it.

When I was 17 I had problems with my parents so severe that I moved in with a friend for 6 months. We ate dinner in the living room on TV trays and watched the news, and for the first time in awhile I was able to breathe. Her mother was crazy, but her father was a peach and I married someone just like him. (Does that mean I'm the crazy one in this relationship?)

I went away to college and lived with forty girls, and it was just as hellishly wonderful as you can imagine. I made friends I will be close with for the rest of my life, and it also made me want to run screaming into the night several times a month.

A few years and roomates later, I found the perfect house and I loved it. It wasn't big or fancy, but it had arched doorways, yellow walls, a sunny kitchen, hardwood floors and a fireplace. The yard was spacious and filled with berry bushes and mature trees. I could have lived there forever. But one roomate got married, then another moved to Europe, then another got engaged and I had to leave it behind, because how could I carry the rent on my own?

Soon after that I was the one to get engaged and then married, and my home ever since has been wherever my husband is. It's wonderful to have that constant.

And now that we have a family of our own, I am adament that we will put down roots. I do not want to spend his childhood moving around, always looking for the next best thing. When we find our home, I want to stay there. I want him to bring his college roomates there for the holidays, and then his wife, and then his children. I want him to be able to say "Over there is where we tracked how tall I was getting every year, and that's where mom fell and pulled down the Christmas tree when she had too much eggnog." Though maybe I will have to have a talk with him about which stories we share and which ones we never tell daughters in law (or social workers) about. *wink*


Jayde January 21, 2010 at 11:37 AM  

I understand about the moving around! I don't even know how many different places I've lived, but I do know I attended 16 different schools K-12. I also feel the need to not move my kids around like my mom moved my brother and I. Thanks for sharing! Stopping by from MamaKat's.

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