Letting the kids’ roots grow

standard July 10, 2012 7 responses

I moved from Paris to NY when I was 7, from NY to London, England when I was 10, and back to Paris when I was 13.

Moving was the norm for our family. Settling in, making friends fast, all the while knowing full well that these friendships might be short lived, that was our routine.

It’s not impossible that this wandering is what made it so easy for me to leave everything behind and jump at the chance to come live with M, first in Boston and later in California. By the time I made those decisions I knew that the only thing that really mattered were the people in your life, not the place where you love them.

This past week, in the middle of a conversation with a friend about local public elementary schools, she happened to mention that even though our kids wouldn’t be together for K-6, they’d all be reunited in middle school.

My first inclination was to brush aside her comment as utterly absurd. Then I just had to laugh. It seemed so ridiculous to be thinking about what middle schools the kids would be attending. I never had that luxury as a child. In my mind it seemed a given that we’d have moved long before elementary school ended.

And yet… that given isn’t all that given.

M’s line of work isn’t really a ‘pack-up-and-move-every-three-years’ kind of gig. We just bought a house in the perfect neighborhood. And, really, we’ve already been in this area for the last 11 years and there’s no real reason for us to leave.

11 years we’ve been here. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve lived in the same place for 11 consecutive years. It’s hard to fathom.

We moved from my childhood home the week before I turned 7. I celebrated that birthday in a land where I didn’t speak the language, understand the customs, or know anyone.

We moved C to a new home just a few months before she herself turned 7. Instead of throwing her into a world of unknowns we’ve dropped her into a world of familiarity. She already knew the new town, the new local shops and restaurants, the local parks, even the people.

This town is packed with kids the girls have known from various preschools and clubs, and even if they only see them extracurricularly for the next 4-6 years, soon enough they’ll all be studying under the same roof. Which boggles the mind all while warming the heart. And finally gives me the peace I craved my entire childhood.

My kids get to set down roots without fear of having them yanked up every three years. It’s going to fill me with joy to water and nurture those roots as they grow.

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7 responses

  • Congratulations on settling down! LOL! I moved around a lot when I was single and early in my marriage. Now, we too, have been in one city, one house for 11 years this October. Hope your next 11 years are just as fulfilling as the last!

  • It’s funny how it’s all perspective at the end of the day. Congrats on the new place! I am not a big fan of moving, but I wish I were. It would be a heck of a lot more adventurous around here!

  • How wonderful that you got to experience so much of the world by such a young age and how wonderful your girls get to put down roots. Two very different childhoods but equally cool.

  • I had roots. Long roots, and my family still lives in the same place where they’ve lived since my dad grew up. And all I ever wanted to is unroot myself and see the world. Now my kids will be like you — growing rootless, moving every 3 years or so, exploring the world. I know I’m stealing them the roots, but giving something more. I’m sure they will be like you.. and will want the roots for their kids 🙂

  • Isn’t it funny how life turns out? I never moved around much as a child but since marrying my husband we’ve moved 13 times in 12 years.
    After our last move I told my husband I am done. I love seeing new places and the constant change but at the same time I want the kids to have stability. And you know what, it’s the best decision we ever made.

  • I think both kinds of life can be good for kids. I lived my entire childhood in the same idyllic English country town- my parents still live there. Husband moved, like you, every three years. I’ve just uprooted my kids to San Diego. They are anxious. In hoping we can stay for while.

  • Wow. What a rich upbringing you had! The cultures, the languages, the food, the people. I can understand how living in the same place for 11 years feels kinda odd. But good odd.

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