Moving Day

So we take a break from the informational posts about homeschooling for a moving update.  The move is moving forward.  It’s just as exhausting and confusing as it has been the last 12 times we moved.  Yes, we have moved twelve times in our marriage.  I tell people of us  it’s like childbirth.  You forget how painful it is because if you remembered you would never do it again.  But you forget so here we are.  You learn so much in moving. 

We have all become more and more detached from material objects the more we move.  I often have this strange feeling of “who cares” or “good riddance” when seeing the moving truck drive off into the distance.  Almost as soon as the boxes are taped shut I forget what’s inside as if it really doesn’t matter to me once it’s packed.  And it doesn’t. 

What matters is what comes with us in the car: the children, the dogs, a suitcase of practical clothes and some snacks; faith in God and each other. Food, shelter, clothing and love are all you really need

Also what matters is the people in your life. The neighbors you are leaving. And the friends you have yet to meet. With modern technology your community just grows with every move. The world becomes smaller and closer.

Family, friends, faith, food, shelter, clothing…. Everything else is just extraneous and insignificant. 

I’m not implying living out of a car is a good thing.  It’s just that it gives you perspective on what matters and what truly does not.  That’s a rare thing to see through the fog of modern American life.  I’m looking forward to having a home again, but “home” is not a place or a collection of belongings.  It’s more a feeling and a series of behaviors that bring us together and allow us to care for each other.  It’s cooking a meal for your family and eating together.  Home is where you take your shoes off and put your feet up.  Home is the place you rush back to when you have had a bad day.  It’s where you sleep safely at night and where you start each morning.  These are the things that matter.  So as we pack our bags these are the things I hope my kids come to know in this crazy life we live. 

Now, son of man, during the day while they are looking on, prepare your baggage as though for exile, and again while they are looking on, migrate from where you live to another place; perhaps they will see that they are a rebellious house.

Ezekiel 12:3

It’s painful now.  We’ve rented a cabin for our first two weeks in Alaska until we can get our bearings and decide on a long term home, but I am focusing on that cabin and enjoying a home cooked meal together.  We are surviving right now on instant food and take out which gets you through the day, but doesn’t nurture you in anyway.  This way we are living now strattled between the material mess of our former home and the uncertainty of the immediate future is confusing and exhausting.

Like childbirth though when I think of the list of past moves and former homes I don’t remember the pain involved in the process of moving.  I don’t think of the time it takes to get adjusted and settled in.   I really just see the memories.   And everywhere we’ve is filled with happy memories.

I remember in Annapolis, MD carrying a sofa up three flights of stairs at three o’clock in the morning just days before our wedding laughing like fools super excited about getting married and sharing our life together. We had no idea the joys and pains the future would hold and it really didn’t matter because we had each other.  I still feel that way. 

 I remember the sand blowing across the road in Pensacola, FL so pure white that it looked just like snow.  It was so deceptive I remember absentmindedly tell Rick to slow down driving.  That’s still to my memory the whitest sand I have ever seen on any beach anywhere. 

I remember the little pink nuns at the convent across from our apartment in Corpus Christi, TX where I would go to daily mass and pray for the new baby growing inside me. 

I remember my dear elderly neighbor Lottie in Enid who would rock my newborn baby boy while I slept in her dead husband’s chair.  I think we saved each other there.  She, recently widowed suffering depression and loneliness  and I, starving for sleep and companionship.   

In Moore, OK I remember waking up one Easter morning feeling a bit lonely while Rick was deployed and looking out my window to see that a neighbor had covered my lawn in colored Easter eggs surprising me and delighting my boys. 

I remember our few months in Monterrey, CA when the boys and I would take long walks along the bay counting sea otters and seal lions gorging on bread bowls filled with chowder.  That was a fun place to live.    

In San Antonio, TX we lived right next to Six Flags and we could sit on our balcony and watch the nightly fireworks after spending a day splashing in the water park or, hilariously enough, watching the boys ride circles on the moving truck kiddie ride.

When we returned to Enid the boys were older and I first started homeschooling.  I remember mummifying a chicken during our Egypt Unit.  We still have that chicken.  All decked out like King Tut in a paper mâché sarcophagus. (And no, I didn’t kill a chicken to mummify it.  I just bought a chicken at the grocery store.  I don’t know why when I tell people we mummified a chicken they always seem to think I killed the chicken.  That would be creepy to kill a chicken and mummify it…..)

I remember in Basking Ridge just the joy of having Rick home with us and no longer in the Navy.  I also remember how great it was finally living near family again and spending long lazy Thursday afternoons on my parents posrch having coffee while the kids played.  

I remember making a scene everywhere we went when Rick went to business school in NYC.  Most of the business students were much younger than we were and kids were some kind fo distant though for them.   Plus, NYC was not built for large families and marching around with three young kids and a newborn turned heads.  I felt like a queen surrounded by her entourage.  “Are they ALL yours?”  “Yes, Yes, they are.  Isn’t it wonderful?”       

I have so many memories of our time in West Chester, PA because we were there longer than anywhere else.  It’s from West Chester that I sent my first born out into the world and it’s also there that he introduced me to his bride during a Christmas visit.  I remember wandering around Longwood Gardens looking at Christmas lights in the freezing cold getting to know this girl who is now part of our family.  Those are happy memories.  My second son too grew up in PA and put down deep roots there as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  SO part of me still remains there.

In Washington I will always remember hot lazy summer days in the rooftop pool overlooking the Washington Monument.  I also will remember the fear and thrill of letting ES grow up and jet around the city on the metro by herself.  I’m not sure if it was better or worse than when the boys learned to drive, but it’s definitely something that I will always remember.  I also will always treasure the countless long walks along the mall with LS and the dogs.  She and I took this city by storm and really explored all it’s nooks and crannies. 

Alaska will have it’s own memories.  It’s exciting.  I have hated leaving everywhere we have ever left, but I have loved living everywhere we have ever lived and I know this will be no different. 

I will never know what it is like to spend a lifetime in a single place with roots settled deep into the ground.  Part of me will always wonder what it would be like, but when I look at my life and all the magnificent places we’ve had the blessing to live I wouldn’t change a thing.  I really believe we are tourists on this planet and God reveals Himself to us through His creation.  Moving is part of the way I have come to see the world and know God and depend on Him and trust in Him—the theology of moving. 

Now it’s back to the pains of packing.  In order for the new memories to be made we must first labor.  It’s agonizing.  I tell people moving is like putting everything you own into a blender putting it on high speed with the lid off then somehow scraping up the bits and pieces that splattered and putting them all into boxes with tape.  On that note I’m off.

Click Here to read the entire story of our move to Alaska.

More Next Reads:

About Mary

Mary Stephens holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Mary spent almost twenty years homeschooling her four children and is now navigating post homeschool life in Alaska. She offers personal insights, recipes, homeschooling tips and tricks and travel advice on her website Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

Leave a Comment