I remember hearing as a child that a house by itself does not make a home. Our families and memories make our homes. What we put into the house makes it a home. We, as a family, choose what we fill our homes with. Cory and I decided early on that our home would be filled with kids, adventure, love, communication, affection, understanding and a long list of expectations (some so unrealistic that they are laughable now).
Here we sit, 25 years later and for the most part, our list was easy to fulfill; but we also learned along the way that our home would be filled with tears, sadness, loneliness and hardships. Trying to figure out how to endure this part of our home has been made easier by our attitude. With a good attitude we learned that most things were easily handled and sorted out.
From the time I was very little, up until a few years ago, my life was a constant stream of boxes moving in and boxes moving out of houses. Trunks and back seats full of clothes, books and favorite possessions. Once I married and our family grew the back seat turned into renting moving trucks; eventually for our last move it included a long haul travel company to transport the last few remaining things we still owned.
We settled on a home in Utah towards the end of 2005. A place that we thought we would live out our lives into our last days. Due to several circumstances (job loss and change of values in our faith) we felt compelled to leave Utah and explore our options. What those options were we had no idea. It was so liberating leaving that final day from our driveway with a few possessions, no plans in sight and the free road before us. We enjoyed every minute rediscovering each other, learning to live in small places and trying to simplify our lives. We needed to clean the slate and start fresh.
I have lived near and far from family, met new friends and said goodbye too many times. Each time with the thrill and excitement that a new adventure arouses deep within my inner sanctuary. When the chance to move to the east coast was presented as a job opportunity for Cory we felt that this would be a good time to settle back down and let Drake and Rye finish up school, get jobs and prepare to leave our home to find their futures.
We have never had a shortage of friends to welcome us into our new homes, our new jobs or communities. What made each new move so easy was having an instant bond with those that we went to church with. It gave us a common bond, common beliefs and an instant family.
That all changed with this move.
When we landed in Maryland we were still living in our travel trailer with three kids, one cat and a dog. (So much has changed: we have 4 kids, no dog and three cats). Cory's job was established but we were worried about the high school that our son, Drake would attend so we took our time finding a neighborhood and city to reestablish our home.
We took the next three months to research the area. My heart kept leading our family to Annapolis. I would spread the map out on the bed and look at the surrounding communities and google lots of stats. I was also interested in crime, housing prices and distances to certain areas. My finger was like the piece on a ouija board--it kept coming back to Annapolis with each question I asked.
Cory and I have discussed for many years that we would like to be near the water. I love the wind, the sound of the waves and the warm sand in my toes. It was a pleasant surprise to venture into downtown Annapolis and discover so much history and a feeling of peace.
I can honestly say that a day does not go by that I do not mention to Cory how much I love Maryland. In the beginning (two years ago) we would chat about where we would go next. Which state would we find ourselves moving to? Where would the wind take us?
Our decision to not return to church directly affected our social life. The last two years have been filled with some boredom, some anxiety, a few questioning moments asking ourselves if we did the right thing in leaving the only foundation that we knew. Each time we asked the question, the answer was always yes. We did not know how hard it was to integrate into a new city without the instant bond and common lifestyle of a church family.
We both finally found the peace in our souls that we were searching for along this long road that we traveled the past 3 years. It has taken us two years to meet some wonderful friends that we think of as our family. Our nearest relative is 3 hours away and then after that they all live on the west coast. We were truly alone in this huge DelMarVa area and had to rediscover how to play "on the playground" again.
It took finding these friends and letting them into our family that has helped me realize that we were home. We found a house and filled it with love, memories, friends and family. We are settling in and finding our way. Feeling cemented to a place has made me feel like we found our way home. Is it the peace, love, friendship and strength that has made me feel this way? I don't know. I just know that for the past two years I have kept the windows of my heart closed, afraid to let anyone into my inner circle, outside of family. I was afraid that we would suddenly find ourselves moving again. Saying our goodbyes and packing boxes.
I want to stay.
We are home.
We have found a reason to stay rooted in a place that brings us joy and happiness.
We love living in Annapolis and don't regret taking the plunge to move somewhere new.
|Our most recent family picture. November 2013|
Written by Sherron Watson