Thursday, December 16, 2010

There's No Place Like Home. Wherever That Is.

Nomad (ˈnəʊmæd) - noun: a person who continually moves from place to place; a wanderer.

Add in something about being extremely patient and the ability to pack and unpack an entire house in 24 hours, and this could be the definition of a military spouse.

Unlike many of you, I can’t really blame my nomadic existence on the military. I actually just experienced my first military move, since my husband was blessed with an extremely long stint at his last post (unfortunately, with two deployments mixed in). The fact is that I was a serial-mover long before I met my husband. I moved out of my grandmother’s house when I was 15 years old, and moved more than ten times over the next ten years. Most of these moves were within the same, or a nearby, city. But, this still did not allow for many roots to be established. Home was just an imaginary place that others spoke of warmly, but that did not exist for me.

When I moved to Kansas eight years ago for law school, I vowed to leave the day after graduation. It looked flat and cold and plain. Shortly after arriving, my car was stolen from the parking lot of my apartment complex. Along with it, the thieves got my daughter’s car seat (who steals a car seat?), and my wallet which was under the seat, complete with a passport, social security card, and money. (Yes, it was very stupid to leave all of this in my wallet, and even dumber to leave it in the car. Lesson learned.) Needless to say, Kansas and I did not hit it off right away.

But, then I met some of my dearest friends, the most amazing women I’ve ever known. Dallas, Dena, Kathy. These women became my family, my sisters, mothers to my daughter, my foundation, and my roots. The longer we stayed, the more phenomenal women I met. Stef, Anna, Jessica, Debby, Megan, Bekah, Angela, Melissa. Soon I was enveloped by a wonderful web of sisterhood, a web that I couldn’t imagine untangling. Kansas somehow, magically, had become my home. The first home I had ever known.

I couldn’t have fathomed how hard it would be to move away. Mixed with the excitement of moving closer to the ocean, the sense of relief that my husband would (hopefully) no longer be deploying, and the thrill of a new adventure, was an enormous amount of anxiety and sadness. Never had being a nomad been more painful.

I don’t regret the move. Here, my husband can be home with us, safe, and where he belongs. We will have new adventures and will get to experience them together. Still, there’s a hole in my heart, a place that can only be filled by the sisters whom I left behind. But, I'm comforted by the fact that no matter how far away we may be, those women are in my soul and will always be in my life. After all, they’re only a phone call, an email, or if all else fails, an extremely long car ride away. I'll keep my ruby red slippers polished. Because, now I finally understand that there, truly, is no place like home.

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