SOLD!

My husband was in the Air Force for 30 years and we moved a lot. For most of his Air Force career we lived in the housing on whatever base we were stationed at……. all over the US and in Turkey and England. I loved living in base housing, in the community where others were going through the same things we went through. Each house became our home, where we laughed, loved and created memories. It was never about the building, it was about the love and the memories. But we knew they were all temporary homes.

We only lived in off-base housing, twice in his career. The first time was when we were in Alabama for my husband to go to school. We rented a house then and loved the house and quickly made it a home.

After Alabama my husband was sent to the Pentagon and base housing was not going to be an option for us. We were okay with that. We made the decision to buy a house, a decision that was hard for me because I knew that the house we bought would become our home, I would get attached and I had never desired to buy a house until it was THE ONE, the last house we would live in. So, I went to Virginia, alone, to find us a house.

I looked at a lot of houses and then I found the one that I could picture us living in and in a neighborhood that looked wonderful.

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We bought that house.  Brand new.  Never lived in.  Ours.

A house is just a house, until you fill it with family, friends, love, memories and the sweat and tears that go into making a house a home. And we did just that.

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It was our home. Filled with lots of memories of holidays, birthdays, fun, and even sad times. We painted every room in the house and all of the halls…..colors that reflected us, no more white walls. And my husband and youngest son worked hard building the fence that would make our backyard an oasis for our dog. And they built a beautiful deck for us to relax on while watching the corn in the field behind us grow. We landscaped and planted the flowers, trees and bushes we wanted. We had friends and family visit us. And we all worked hard finishing our unfinished basement, creating a space where more fun family memories were made—playing pool and playing Wii games.

We had only planned to live here 2 years, the norm for us. But that two years became three, then four and before we knew it we lived in our home for 6 years…..the LONGEST home either my husband or I  had ever lived in. Our youngest son completed all of his high school years in that home. We had teenagers in and out of the house, became close with our neighbors and built a life in that community. This home was the last one our dog would live in.

We were putting down deep roots.

The memories created are strong in that home, filled with love.

Then the day came when the Air Force moved us and the thought of leaving my home, my friends, my community really hurt. I was attached to this place and I wanted to stay. But the Air Force had other plans.

At the time, we could not sell the house, the market had dropped drastically. So we rented it out, in the hopes that we would return after two years and move back into our home. But the Air Force had other plans for us……we never did move back to our beautiful home.

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Now here I am, 8 years after leaving the house we made a home. Others have been living in the house since we left, renting from us. 3 years ago, we went back to Virginia to make repairs to our house to get it ready for the next tenant and it was then, in the midst of the damage caused by our first tenant that I realized this house was no longer our home. We weren’t living there, creating memories anymore and what we had created was no longer there…..it was now just a house.

The only reminder of the family who made this house a home was the growth marks still visible on the laundry room wall.

We made the decision to put the house in Virginia up for sale when the lease ended. I was ready. My husband was ready. Being landlords was not a job we enjoyed or envisioned we would ever find ourselves doing. So, when we started the process, I was surprised by the emotions I found welling up in me…….this had been our home……the memories made there flooded back…….I was sad about selling our home. But it wasn’t ours anymore and hadn’t been ours for the past 8 years.

Today we closed on our house, selling it to a young couple who I hope will see those growth marks and realize that at one time this house was a home, filled with love, laughter and tears. And my hope is that they make this house into a home and fill it with wonderful memories and lots of love and raise their family, with new growth marks on the laundry room wall.

We only own one home now! We are relieved. The stress associated with owning a house on the other side of the country is gone. A weight lifted off of our shoulders.

And I am a little sad…..it was our home and the memories made inside those walls will forever be cherished!

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Home

Summer, a season that conjures up time outside, long days and late nights, ice cold drinks under a tree or by a pool, and HOT days, especially here in Arizona. Summer is also a season for moving….at least in the military world that my husband and I lived in for 30 years.  And now my news feeds on facebook are filled with moving stories from my many friends and the excitement of that next adventure they are embarking on.

The past few months have found me purging closets, boxes, and rooms in our house. I have been reorganizing, rearranging, throwing things out and setting aside items to be donated.  Yet, I have NO PLANS on moving……..

Being a military wife meant moving, A LOT! My husband served in the Air Force for 30 years.  Our first military move came 4 years after he started his Air Force life.  Most of our moves were in the summer months, though a couple of the moves came suddenly in the middle of a school year.  Each move was a new adventure for our family, a new place to explore….even the places I NEVER imagined living in or thought about visiting. 

We moved 13 times in 26 years. And starting a few months before every move, I would start purging, organizing and prepping all our belongings for the next house.  I hung onto curtains far longer than any one should because, maybe, just maybe, they will fit into the next house……

Moving was a way of life for our military family. And moving was a part of my early years, despite the fact that my parents were not in the military.  Between the ages of 3 and 18, I moved 19 times…..yes, 19 different homes, different cities and different school districts all in the span of 15 years.  I went to 7 different high schools but changed high schools 9 times in 4 years.  No wonder I could not graduate with my class and had to go an extra year of high school to get my diploma…….I could have given up, not finished school or gone a different route, but I persisted, and succeeded despite all of the obstacles I faced.  Even in difficult times, we can find our path, our footing and find a way to get through.

My life has meant a lot of moves and a lot of changes. And I DO NOT like change, as I mentioned in my previous blog post.  Yet, some of those changes….maybe all of those changes, have led me to who I am today and where I am today.

The longest place I have lived and the longest place my husband has lived, was our home in Virginia when he was stationed at the Pentagon.  We were there for 6 years.  After the first 2 years in Virginia, I started purging, organizing and prepping……a lot of years of moving habits had me on autopilot.  Without realizing it I was prepping for a move, one that was not coming for another 4 years.  After that first 2 years in Virginia, we started to plant some roots, and to settle in…..

Today, in this house I have lived in for almost 2 years, I am contemplating the idea of a permanent home…….a home where I know I won’t be moving again. A place to put deep roots, to establish a settled life and to make a home that feels like “home” when my adult children visit…a place my future grandchildren will build memories in. 

As I find myself in this old habit of moving preparation, I have discovered something new, something different……I am purging, organizing and rearranging, not in anticipation of an upcoming move, but in preparation for our forever home……getting rid of the things that I don’t need to keep “just in case” it will work in our next house and keeping the mementos of our life adventures, of the places we have lived, places we have visited and the people we have met along the way.

All of my life I have wanted a “home”, a house that I would never move from, that place I could feel safe and settled, that place I would spend my life, raise my kids and make lots of memories in. For my younger self with my mom, “home” was safe but not permanent….with my dad “home” was chaotic, dysfunctional and constantly moving.  As an adult, “home” was where the Air Force sent us.

What I have learned through all these years and all those many moves, is that “home” isn’t about a building or belongings. “Home” is about the people, the feeling, the connection and the love.  My home is with my husband, wherever we are.  Though I didn’t realize it, we have put down roots, in many locations, across thousands of miles, in different states and countries.  Our roots are expansive, deep in some places and shallower in others, but we have roots and they lead us to the many friends and family we have across the miles.

And now our roots are being planted here, in this community and in this house where we have mementos of our adventures and the life we have made. Our home is not made of sticks, bricks or stone.  Our home is made of love, laughter, tears, joy and memories.  Our home is built on a foundation of trust, compassion, friendship and love. 

My hope is that our move here was our last move, but if it is not and we pull up stakes and head out again, I know that “home” will be with us, is within us.

With my husband, I am now and always have been, home.