Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wanderlust

The first time I moved, I was eighteen months old. I don't remember it, but my parents say that I walked into our new house, climbed a shallow set of stairs, turned and applauded. That pretty much sums up how I've felt about moving ever since.

The second time we moved, I was eight. My father's company transferred him to its Syracuse office, and my father transferred us to a Syracuse suburb, Liverpool. I remember being excited about every aspect of moving. What would our new house look like? What would school be like? I don't remember giving much thought to friends - the ones I'd make, or the ones I was leaving behind. I was just excited to be going.

We moved again two years later. When my parents announced at the dinner table that we would be moving, and had a choice between Atlanta, Georgia and Dallas, Texas, my younger sister and I jumped up and down and screamed. Dallas, like we watched on television? Or Atlanta, which was unfortunately experiencing a rash of child murders at the time but somehow did not damper our excitement.

I realize I am unique. For every me, there's a person out there who relishes having grown up in one house, whose lifelong friends are people they met in elemetary school. They don't think like me, yearning for fresh new walls and new skylines. I think of all the dear friends I've met that I wouldn't know existed had I never left New Jersey. I wonder what it would be like to grow up with people who had only experienced the same community I have. There has to be a sense of continuity there that assists with the bond.

I experience a different reaction when friends announce a move, too. Most people lead off with, 'aww, we'll miss you.' My first thought is, 'New walls! You're so lucky! I can't wait to visit and see how you paint!' This is not exactly a response which is the bedrock of friendship. I have learned to tone it down and preface my giddyness over having a new place to go with a mention of missing them, too.

These are among the thoughts on my mind as I prepare to bring two new children into the world. I am running out of reasons to move, and there is a likelihood that my children will grow up in this house, leaving it only for college. I wonder what the difference between them and me will be (or their older brother, certainly no stranger to being the new guy at school and himself in possession of slightly itchy feet, having only recently stopped asking me when we could move to Georgia). If they inherit my itchy feet, how will they indulge it?

Yes, I'll always love seeing my things packed into a big moving truck, headed off to create new stories among unfamiliar street names. That's who I am. I don't know whether or not I'll ever indulge it again, and I can't complain at all if where I currently am ends up being where I'll always be. There is, after all, something to be said for laying down roots.

Even if, in the back of my mind, I'll always wonder how they'd fare in yet another new yard.

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