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?