Sometimes I struggle to quench my feelings and choke down envy when someone mentions buying an amazing house or follows some other beautiful dream that seems so out of reach for me.
I often look at my 40+ years and wonder what I have accomplished.
Sometimes, it’s hard being transient. It gets so lonely.
We’ve lived in so many houses, apartments, hotels, and rooms over the years that when I wake groggily in the wee hours of the morn to comfort a child or when I hear an odd night noise, I am often disoriented as my mind adjusts to the shape of the room rather than a memory of another room across the years.
We don’t waste time or money on Pinterest projects or lots of yard maintenance or prettifying a rental house. We have become minimalists.
All our memories fit into a few Rubbermaid containers.
We never know when we might leave for someplace new. Too often, we leave again before it even starts to feel like home. Sometimes, we start to feel anxious, ready to move on.
We make the best of it, right?
I’ve lived in a home with no dishwasher and 3 cabinets in the kitchen. The washer and dryer were in the dirt-floor basement. I had to walk outside and around to the backyard to get inside.
I’ve lived in a smelly, ant-traipsing apartment where I had to walk up three flights of stairs.
We’ve lived in noisy duplexes with no privacy and a parking lot across the way.
We’ve spent weeks in temporary housing during PCSes.
We lived on base once, and while convenient, it had its cons also.
We’ve rented houses sight-unseen, only to be disappointed at the online deception. But it was too late.
My parents upgraded to a 3000 sq. ft. house on a corner lot shortly after I moved away. I have no childhood home to return to with its memories. I’ve visited three times in eleven years and it doesn’t even smell quite right there. It’s amazing to me how much space they have for two people who never go anywhere.
We’ve sold and bought more vehicles than I can keep count as our family grew and transportation needs changes. Cars mean little to me other than reliability. My mother loved buying her new Chevrolet Caprice Classic every three years, then moved on into small SUVs. Still not sure why they need three cars at age 75.
We’ve attended more churches than any family ever should have to. We even stopped going for a while. It gets tiresome sometimes, trying to fit into a new place, with its cliques and families and friendships that have existed for decades.
As a military wife, I’ve often put my dreams on hold.
I left my college teaching job. I didn’t get that Ph.D. I haven’t written a book – yet.
But military life really doesn’t feel that hard to me most of the time.
I’m cool with holding down the fort during TDY, deployments, emergencies.
I’ve become a pro with organizing, packing, and unpacking.
I’ve dealt with disappointment and put on a brave face for the sake of my children.
They say home is where the military sends you.
And it’s true.
Home is everywhere.
Home is where my husband is. Where my children are. Where my cats are.
The kids are beginning to ask if this is our last move. How many more? What next? My son wants to know: where will we be when he’s 10?
My eldest daughter just started college and doesn’t plan to leave Ohio. She’s longing to put down roots. I don’t blame her.
So, sure, I put some dreams on hold.
Or maybe I’ve adapted and grown up.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gonePink Floyd
My dreams have changed since I was younger.
I’m no longer that selfish hurting girl who threw tantrums, hid in the closet when I didn’t get my way, or couldn’t handle a full day alone with two kids.
I’m no longer that overwhelmed girl who eats out multiple times a week or prepares quick foods due to a lack of planning.
I’m no longer my mother’s daughter who needs retail therapy to prove my self-worth.
I realize that a beach home might not be in our best interests with hurricanes and flooding. I never imagined living through our basement flooding on Memorial Day in Utah, while my husband was deployed. Really, Utah?
We’ve learned self-reliance since we’ve always lived far from family. It’s still really hard for me to make friends.
We realize how fortunate we have been to see so much of the world. Hawaii, Europe, places in between, and who knows what the future holds?
I’m not interested in recognition in the field of education. I will never go back to get a Ph.D. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. I am educating my children and I see the fruits of my labors there. Yes, it’s interesting to me that there are two moms on my new street who are finishing up their Ph.D.’s and it only brought a tiny twinge of regret.
I’ve learned to have different priorities.
I want to live debt-free. And not just financial freedom. We pray the Lord’s prayer every Sunday at church, but I want to live it.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… Matthew 6:12
I strive for grace, forgiveness, and kindness.
I pray to fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith…
I am resilient, flexible, strong.
I don’t have to put my dreams on hold indefinitely. I can incorporate my dreams into the life I am living – adapting to what is best for this season and our family dynamics.
The grass is always greener, isn’t that what they say?
I grew up military, married a farm boy, and have been going CR-azy sitting in one place for the past 25 years. I see your ability to visit SO many places on the military’s assistive nickle, I see the pension in your future, I see the vast amount of cultures (and NPS badges!) you get to experience, and I’m jealous.
Mostly these days, I live vicariously through people who live in RVs and travel as a lifestyle. Which is… homigoodness SO far and a way *MORE* than what you have going. (Of course they don’t have CHAMPUS or that pension or the perks of military benefits)… but yet again, there’s another lifestyle that’s out there… and some of them are looking at your situation thinking, “Now that would’ve been a great way to travel!” Isn’t that the way it goes?
We all wonder if we might not be happier in another situation. But honestly? We can make the best of our situation, if we put our minds to it. I don’t mean to sound preacher-y (no, REALLY.). We can travel from where we are, if we’re very, very careful and make the best of what’s within a day or two’s drive. It can be done. Right? And my friend Michele painted her living room blue, although she’s stationed in Colorado for probably not too much longer. There are things we can do from where we are. <3
Your posts are always thought provoking in a good way. I esp. like this last line: “I don’t have to put my dreams on hold indefinitely. I can incorporate my dreams into the life I am living – adapting to what is best for this season and our family dynamics.” We learn to make changes, but we don’t have to let go of all our dreams.
Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #LMMLinkup.
:My experiences haven’t been as dramatic as far as moves and changes, but it’s still amazing to me how God gave me new dreams and gave me ways to creatively fulfill my dreams when I let go of my idea of how it should be and let him work in me. Thank you for sharing this – it was so encouraging!
Karen Brown says
Beautiful. It sounds like God is at work in you. Using these trying, unpredictable times to make you more independent of temporary things and more dependent on Him. Thank you for your family’s service and sacrifice. And thanks for sharing your gift here.
jessi's design says
This is wonderfully written – “Home is everywhere”
Such a transparent post. I truly love your heart. You are definitely on a journey one on which you show courage and strength. May God continue to be your source.
I’ve struggled with “home” over the years feeling uprooted and always the new girl from our family moves. No, nothing as dramatic as yours but moving every 6 months in high school left some scars in me. It took me a while to realize my true foundation. You are a faster learner than me! I think when our kids are young they find security from us. You’re giving them a firm footing. My prayer is that you and your family will always be reminded of your home in God’s love and that He will continue providing all your needs. Thanks for sharing.
Melissa @ Loving Life Moore says
I really just love the transparency of this post. I’ve been struggling with this lately as we prepare to PCS again. I love the moving, don’t get me wrong, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Sometimes it’s hard though to know that my career and dreams come second to duty right now. I won’t lie…it stings a bit. This reassurance really soothes my heart. Thank you!
Michele Morin says
Thank you, Jennifer, for your service at great cost.
I love your conclusions in this post, and if you have time to read at all, I think you’d love Jen Pollock Michel’s Keeping Place in which she examines a biblical way of thinking about home.
Blessings to you.
Thanks for the book recommendation! I’ll look for it.
Heather Hart says
I love how God changes us and our dreams to fit the lives He has for us. Wonderful post, Jennifer.
What a wonderful post! It’s amazing how people can adapt when life has detours.
Donna Reidland says
Jennifer, I loved this post! Life does have a way of changing us and our dreams. I tell people, it’s ok to have dreams and goals, but hold them in an open hand so that God can work in and through them. Blessings and thanks for your service to our Lord as well as our country.
Rachel Lee says
I loved your transparency here! I’ve known a few military families over the years, and I’m always so enamored by them. I can’t even imagine living life constantly on the move. It sounds to me like you are doing a great job, mama! Keep up the good work!
On a side not, I may not be able to relate to your circumstances entirely, but I CAN relate to putting dreams on hold. That has been the story of my life! It’s hard some days. There’s so much that I want to do, and yet there just never seems to be time or opportunity. Raising a family is sacrificial in a lot of ways. I’ve spent many prayers complaining to God about this. But I’ve also spent many prayers thanking Him for this crazy, busy, full life that has brought me so much joy too!
I’ve learned that He knows what’s best! And if my dreams never come to fulfillment, then maybe they simply were not ever meant to.
Thanks for sharing your heart!
Harry's Honest Mummy says
What a really poignant post. Damn right you are strong. All those experiences you have had – good and bad – have made you that way, and better for them. Love how you still show such great positivity. #fortheloveofBlog
Oh, how I understand, Jennifer. We’re not a military family, but we’ve moved a lot, and starting over is so hard. And, the older you get, it seems like the harder it gets to make friends, and find your place. We’ve been in our house here for 7 years now and it’s the longest we’ve ever lived in any house since we got married 25 years ago! Dreams and goals evolve as we age, don’t they? I think that’s been part of the aging process for me, to learn to let them evolve into what they’re supposed to be now, as opposed to what I thought they’d be then, ya know? Beautiful perspective you’ve cultivated. May God bless you and your family. ((hug))
Your taking the situation and making the best out of it with a smile and that is to be commended!
What I am planning isn’t so much who is in charge when I submit to His will. I always think of this verse.
We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
Thanks for sharing your heart at Home Sweet Home!
Maree Dee says
I love it home is “everywhere.” At present, I am living in two states. I go back and forth. It is for a very good reason, and I know God approves of it. But all the same, I have felt like I just don’t live anywhere. You have inspired to change my thinking. Thank you!.
Wow! I cannot imagine your lifestyle. Moving so much must force you to be flexible and totally change your perspective. I’ve been amazed that we can make friends over the internet and those friends don’t typically move! Yay! Thanks for linking up – I look forward to getting to know you! Praying for peace for your family!
Meghan Weyerbacher says
Jennifer thank you for sharing the real. We did ten years but I didn’t get to go with him overseas (either time). I love your boldness. It is a breath of fresh air for me.
Prayers for you and your lovely family. And I used to do shopping therapy too back when I was in my early twenties but it did get old trying to fill a God sized void with “stuff.”
Kelly Edwards says
I think you’re right about adapting dreams as we get older and I completely understand. My dad was in the air force until I was born so my mum had to move around a lot. It’s almost impossible to settle, or to want to draw down roots just in case you are moved again at a moments notice. Great post, thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofBLOG x
Amy @ The Quiet Homemaker says
I think back to my dreams as a child, and how God has arranged them for me, though not in the way that I thought. We have such an amazing Father! When we look at our lives, it is easy to sometimes get discouraged at what we thought we would have and don’t. But God answers prayers and leads us where He needs us.
Thank you for linking up with #LiveLifeWell!
Tina at Mommynificent says
Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com! You have such a way with words, describing the transient life that so few understand!
Gretchen Fleming says
Life is about growing and changing isn’t it? So glad God moves us on in our faith, not leaving us as we were.
Anita Ojeda says
Learning to be content in every circumstance is a life-long journey for me! May God be with you and his Holy Spirit draw close to you as you deal with all the changes in your life.