The boys and I moved across town yesterday.
“Across town.” My country roots are showing. I’ve lived most of my life in the country so on Saturdays as a kid we “went to town,” and even though that town is now a bonafide big city that mentality has stuck with me.
So, we moved across town. If you’re reading this and like “oh my gosh I had no idea this was happening” (either at all or so soon) you’re in good company because it happened kinda fast, and I haven’t talked about it online, so the only way you’d know if we talked about it face to face, and I’ve not done a lot of that either.
Here’s the scoop: the boys school is on the other side of town from our house. About 25-27 miles. This is our 5th year to do the commute, and while the drive is long and we wake up super early and stuff, the real disadvantage all these years was that living far away from the school limited our involvement in the extracurricular. Like Friday night football games and after school volleyball. We had such a long drive we couldn’t feasibly go home and come back. To wait around in town killing time til games started was just too much so we did what we could and missed out on a lot. But as the boys have gotten older and as I’ve made more friends with parents too, we want to be at those things more. The cost is high though because we often spend that time between school and the school-thing we’re doing later by doing homework, reading, listening to radio or watching a movie, eating, studying, napping, etc. IN THE CAR. I keep the car stocked with drinks, snacks, blankets, movies (I’m not kidding) for this reason.
The boys are in 8th and 5th grades; the number of things they/we want to be involved in at the school is increasing, not going the other way. For example, Finn has cross country practice every day but usually not til 5. So we have a gap from when I pick them up at school at ~ 3:30 til practice at 5. It’s a 30 minute drive to our house, so if we go home, we drive 30 are at home for 30 then drive 30 back. Then Caden and I sit in the car for the 1 1/2 hour practice. Or maybe we’ll hop out and toss frisbee or play ball, but we’re still killing time and time, my friends, is too precious and fleeting to be killed.
I hit my wall with this about 6 weeks ago when we went to the Target cafe during this 3:30-5 window to get a snack and do homework. Caden was working on math and was very distracted by a family with a noisy toddler near us. He frustratingly said in a low voice to me “Can you ask them to keep their baby quiet, I’m trying to do homework here?” No, we’re in a public place, we’re in a grocery store even, can’t ask that. So I knew we couldn’t make this work any longer. They need a place to do homework and study that’s conducive to learning, and Target is not it. And they need to be able to go home after school and grab a snack from the fridge and plop on their couch and watch some TV or play a video game. As much as the experts says that’s a waste of time, they need time to veg and be kids and we’re aren’t getting enough of that. By the time we get home after practice everyone is starving so there’s dinner to figure out, showers, homework, studying, and all of that takes right up til bed time, which is pretty early because of how early we have to wake up to do it all again the next day.
Moving though? Ugh. Who wants to go through the hassle of selling and buying and moving. Not me. That’s part of the reason why we haven’t moved til now because moving is SUCH a chore! Their dad and I moved 7 times in 6 years before building this house 10 years ago, so 10 years without a move has been heavenly. I considered moving when they first changed schools, but the housing market wasn’t as good then and just seemed too risky. But the housing market has bounced a little from then with lots of houses selling in my area in a good price range too. So maybe now was the time, I thought.
Call me inpatient, but I didn’t want to wait all the months I knew it would take to get the house ready to sell (i.e. de-cluttered, super-clean, painted, repaired, etc.) all while still living in it and trying to sell it, so I made a move (literally) that would force my hand to do it quicker. I decided we’d move as soon as I could find a good apartment for the rest of the school year. That gets us where we need to be physically ASAP and forces me to more quickly get the house ready to sale and on the market. I just knew that if we continued to live in it while trying to get it ready to sale that it would take forever and it would be next school year and we’d still be there.
So I found a nice apartment complex with plenty of room for us very near the school and willing to do a short term lease and here we are!
So that’s the facts of the move — the who, what, where, when, why — but what’s missing from all of that is the emotions. Moving can be hard emotionally. We’ve lived in that house 10 years, so this is the boys first move that they’ll remember.
If that’s all there was, that’s emotional enough. My sons learned to walk, talk, crawl, everything in this house! But that’s not all there is. Because this is the house that their dad and I built, the last house he lived in, so moving out is a form of moving on from that too. It’s brought back memories of building it and choosing all the colors and fixtures. Moving out of the house we built and bought together closes out that chapter of my life in a big way.
Truth is I/we have lived in that house longer without him than with him. But because it started out as “ours” it’s still felt like “ours” even though we’ve lived in it without him the last 6 years.
When I talked to John’s mom about the move she said, “Well it’s time, time for y’all to move on,” and that puzzled me because that’s not what this move is about. We’re moving to be closer to the school and to be rooted in the community where they go to school. But it’s moving on too, even if that’s on the reason.
It was inevitable, of course. I had no grand illusions of living there forever. I just had no hard-and-fast reason to move before now so we just stayed put until life’s circumstances urged me on. We were comfortable with our stuff and our routine and “home” felt like “home.” My parents live a few streets over from the house, so it’s been nice to have them close enough for the boys to ride their bikes to their grandparents and to help when the boys were little. But they say home is where the heart is, and our heart has been moving to this side of town little by little for 5 years. Part of my heart is still VERY MUCH over there, but it’s the past part not the present or future part. Acknowledging and accepting that that house and it’s memories is part of my past is harder than I thought. Especially when part of my heart is really happy to be over here and have so much time and life back! It’s a happy-sad moment, goodbye to good things, hello to other good things.
So this is Phase I of the Smith Family Move. The plan is to be in the apartment the rest of the school year. The guys are coming to paint and fix up my house the next few weeks and we’ll get the realtor in there the next few weeks too. I’m praying it sells quick and for the amount I need to cover the mortgage, repairs, temporary moving expenses and a downpayment on the next one. Because there will be a next one. The apartment is temporary so in Phase II we’ll buy a new house. So more Smith Family moving adventures to come ….