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.