Our family of five just moved… yet again. It seems crazy because we had only lived in Ohio for a year and half, but I knew what I was getting into long before I said “I do” to my husband. When we got engaged my husband was an Air Force ROTC cadet, so I always expected to move around the country, never be “close enough” to family, and to embrace the motto that “Home is where the Air Force sends you.” I will admit that military life has its difficulties, but I’m actually starting to enjoy the moving.
From a practical standpoint, moving helps you clean house. It’s easy to accept that you don’t need something if you haven’t touched it since you unpacked it from your last move, and easier to get rid of it. All the moves have helped us keep our clutter to a minimum and make room for new, more useful things in our new home.
Moving often helps you appreciate what you have. A few weeks before we moved, I began a moving countdown calendar that includes a question to consider every day. Each night over dinner, my husband, our boys, and I discussed an aspect of our move based on the calendar. We talked about our favorite places, friends, and activities—what we will miss the most. We talk about the things we want to do, pictures we want to take, and things we want to remember as this chapter of our lives closes.
Moving is also a great adventure. It gives us all a chance to meet new people and find things to do around our new home. Sometimes, our daily questions explored the things we were looking forward to at our new home in Florida.
And then there is the move itself. After all the boxes are gone and we’ve said goodbye to the building we called home, we get to spend the next few days travelling and enjoying the company of the people we love most—our family. My mother-in-law (a retired Air Force wife with more than 20 years of moving experience) always advised us to treat the trip like a vacation. Everything stops—school, work, meetings, events—and we can simply be together. We plan breaks at interesting places. We swim at the hotels, eat out, and enjoy ourselves. We have fun remembering our old home and anticipating the fun we will have in our new one.
I’ve always likened unpacking to Christmas—and so have our kids. But in addition to the holiday-like excitement of opening all the boxes, there is also a peace that comes from making a new house your own home, from making a new city, your city. Ultimately I have realized one important thing from our many moves: home is not just where the Air Force sends us; home is where we are together.