What would inspire you to move?

Greg and I both come from families that stay put. Both sets of parents have been in their houses for at least 30 years. When I was growing up, my neighborhood was filled with families that had been in the same house from the birth of their babies until they sent them to college. I liked the stability, but I think it also might help explain my complete fear in the face of change. Greg complains that I won’t even let him rearrange the furniture.

This month marks our ten-year anniversary in our house. We have lived on our street longer than anyone else. Our move to Austin was miserable for me. All moves are miserable, I suppose. But Greg and I lived apart for a few months while I sold our house up north, and then I arrived in June (not the best time to move to Texas), and we lived in a motel with our two pets while looking for a house. Also, I was unemployed and didn’t know a soul. I declared that I would never move again.

So we bought a big house in the suburbs that was perfect for raising kids. This could easily be the house we stay in until we are 70. Except we moved here when I was 25. I have spent the past decade watching my friends move for graduate school, jobs, and relationships. For the most part, I’ve been content with the idea that I found a place to settle early in life. But when I think about spending another 30 or 40 years in this house, my throat constricts a bit. That is a lifetime.

Greg and I started discussing a move several weeks ago. Our main impetus for moving is Eleanor’s health. This year has been really bad for her allergies, and she is taking a litany of medications to stay healthy. The doctor says there is a good chance she will outgrow her asthma — in middle school. Someplace colder or drier, or both, would be better for her.

We’re also feeling ready for some adventure, I think. Maybe this is too much adventure for the sort of woman who can’t turn her couch in a new direction, though. We would love for our kids to experience seasons, to see leaves changing and to awaken to snow that has silently piled up during the night. Not forever, necessarily. We’ve grown weak living in Texas, y’all.

Greg’s company has offices in other cities, and I can freelance anywhere, so moving is an actual possibility, though we have decided that we will definitely hold off until next summer. We are debating all of the different possibilities though. Should we plan to move for a year only to try out a new place? We know that all of Eleanor’s allergy problems will return in Austin, but we could at least buy her one or two years without medication.

And what do we do with our house? Renting makes the most sense, but we put in wood floors last year, and we have been as cautious with them as is possible considering we’re living with metal race cars and princess high heels. I could accept general wear and tear, but those floors are too expensive to replace. And Greg and I both agree that our house is too big for us, so it seems strange to hang onto it. Except it is across the street from a swimming pool! And a school! Where else will we find that?

I worry about giving up the good life we have here. We’re not moving for better jobs. Or to be closer to family. We just want to try out something different and see if our daughter feels better. And of course I worry about uprooting our kids. Henry won’t know the difference, but how will Eleanor do? At her current school, the kids don’t go outside for recess when the temperature dips below 50. Too cold, obviously. We will need some sort of head-to-toe down-filled cocoon to get her out the door up north.

Is it okay to move her someplace temporarily? (Also, we’re still totally in the discussion phase here. Nothing decided.) If you’re more adventurous than I, please pipe up. How hard is it moving with kids? Would you move someplace for the sake of adventure, or is that way too much work? Also, where would you go?

4 thoughts on “What would inspire you to move?

  1. I’m all about adventure. I’d move 10 more times if it weren’t for kids and job stability. It’s easier for me because my move came with a deadline of a job and so we’re here… where I don’t love living but suits our family needs right now.

    I would feel more inclined to move around during the early years, which Eleanor still qualifies– and considering the move is partly for her, I’d say it’s valid.

    I cannot imagine living in the same house my whole life! We’ve only lived in our home 5 years and I can already see through to other possibilities. Too bad family stability and my husband’s local job sort of put a damper on my adventuresome spirit.

  2. I am the same as you. Although I did move from here to attend college in the northeast, my then-boyfriend suggested we move to Austin and I agreed and we are staying put, I’m sure. I do have an acquaintance whose son had horrible allergies and the family did move to the Pacific Northwest and it sounds like they are so much happier now. I’m happy to put you in touch if you’d like!

  3. I am so sorry you are having such a hard time with allergies and asthma with your daughter. I can relate – our son (just turned three) has struggled with “reactive airway disease” / “childhood asthma” since about 18 months, triggered by upper respiratory viruses. And we now discovered that he has seasonal allergies to trees and grasses. We have struggled to figure out the best treatment approach – trying to suss out side effects of medications, what’s just typical behavior for a 2 – 3 year old, behavior side effects of asthma itself because he’s too young to be able to tell us he’s uncomfortable, etc. He takes Allegra now for the seasonal allergies; and then we use a nebulizer for budesonide treatments when he’s in the “yellow” zone – he needed mostly daily budesonide as a preventer this past fall through early spring due to colds. And then we use albuterol as needed.
    We live in Minneapolis – quite the opposite of Austin! We moved here after more than 12 years in the DC area after our son turned a year for friends and community and as a more sane place to raise a family.
    I relate to the need and desire to move – it is really hard to figure out when and how to do that with kids. Our first winter here was incredibly hard (though we were living in an apartment) and I thought we wouldn’t be able to stay long term – but now we are in a house, which makes all the difference.
    I don’t think we’d move now for the sake of adventure… Though we dream of taking time for extended travel with the kids (stateside or international)…
    A temporary move might be hard. Maybe an extended exploration of a new place?!

  4. I’m the same as you. I lived in the same house from first grade until I graduated and my parents still live there (I spent the night before my wedding in my childhood bedroom). I freak out about change. So I’m torn… If I had the chance to live somewhere awesome for a year–London or Florence or something–I’d take it. But I would always feel like a visitor. A year is such a long time, but not that long to make a place feel like home, you know? So part of me would want to really move and be somewhere else for the long haul, so I could make myself get invested, and part of me would want to hold on to the house like a safety net.

    Moving for your child’s health is s pretty compelling reason, but I sympathize with the anxiety. May I suggest St. Louis? We have our issues, but it’s an affordable city and a great place to raise kids. And it freezes in the winter, but not like Minnesota. Good luck with this decision! Do you live near family now? I wish we were closer to my parents, so it would be very hard for me to live farther away from them, mostly because of how much they love seeing the girls.

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