Almost exactly two-and-a-half years ago, we happened to buy our first house at the same time as a close friend. We liked the house and were excited to move out of a rental home which had become frustrating in its age and its nosy neighbors. I discussed our simultaneous moves with the friend while our two sets of twins made a wreck of our current play area.
“Well,” she said, eyes shining, looking at me earnestly, “you know how exciting it is when you find your forever home!!” I used my fourth-grade lessons on context clues to figure out what a forever home was. The pieces finally clunked into place and I smiled tentatively and subtly changed the subject. There was no way we would be there “forever”. It wasn’t our goal or our ideal, but I didn’t want to dampen her excitement. I loved her and her kids and didn’t want her to know we would ultimately be moving on. It’s an unusual idea to buy a house knowing you won’t be around long enough to see the kitchen backsplash become outdated.
Since this initial conversation, I hear the idea of a forever home everywhere. Almost every HGTV show or DIY website chronicles finding homes that are meant to be constants in our lives. I’m not discussing the idea of a starter home versus a forever home, but the idea that no one place is meant to be forever.
Am I just so millennial that I don’t want this for us?
Fifteen months later, we sold that home and bought another one in a different area of the country. We still live here. I also like this home. It’s smaller and brand new and appears clean without much effort even with two four-year-olds and a newborn. But I don’t have images of grandchildren or even middle school-aged children growing old here. My dreams are more like mosaic tiles with cracks between them.
When I look ahead I see us moving, sometimes houses and sometimes cities or states or even countries. I see us deciding again and again what to pack and what to discard and our kids setting up different bedrooms. I see myself frustrated trying to locate the closest grocery store and my kids nervously walking into new lunchrooms. It is a future that is less stable geographically but hopefully more steady in the most important sense.
The forever part of this scenario? Our family and our village.
I think it does take a village to raise a family. I just also believe one can be created, cultivated, and maintained in different areas at different times. I also think the mayors of our village should be us—myself and my husband, with our children as the (very much apprentice) board members. I do see us stopping moving briefly as our kids get into high school. As friends and boyfriends and girlfriends become more important, as they should. But then I see us picking up and moving on once again when our nest is empty. Maybe to a big city that wasn’t suitable for a family of five or to a place where we can finally live our dream of having only one car.
But we’ll take that village with us. That village we have amassed over years and cities and moves. That village we miss at times but that is available through so many different avenues, virtual and tangible.
I don’t want a forever home; just our family and our village.