My kids aren’t shy about vocalizing their interest in moving somewhere new and exotic. As we watched the TV show “House Hunters International” one day, my six-year-old insisted that she wanted to move to “a department in Tokyo.” (She meant “an apartment in Tokyo.”)
We live in a large house now, but she fantasizes about the idea of living in a tiny studio in a high-rise building. ”I’ve lived in this same house my whole life,” she complains about her six agonizing years in the same location.
At the end of kindergarten, she told her friends good-bye and announced that we’d be moving far away that summer. Her best friend was crushed. I’m not sure where that came from. We never told her we were moving.
My older daughter, who is nine, would prefer to live near an ocean. While we were in Guam a few months ago, she was face down in the ocean every chance she got. She swam with sharks and other sea creatures along the coral reef. My little one, on the other hand, wouldn’t get her face wet. I finally ended up taking her to the Underwater World aquarium on the last day of our trip, so that she could see some fish too. For the entire trip, my nine-year-0ld begged to move to Guam. When her uncles, who saw us off at the airport, jokingly said she could stay with them, I thought she was going to grab her bags and run back through security and hop in their car. Of course, this is the same independent girl who was caught planning to “move to the city and get an apartment” with her best friend when she was five.
Over the years, my kids have also asked to move to California, Hawaii, Boston, Kentucky, Tennessee, New York, and Paris, France.
I’ve moved from city to city and state to state my whole life, rarely staying in one place for more than a handful of years. This is the longest I’ve ever lived in one location, and I find myself sometimes getting a little restless to experience something new. My husband, who lived in the same house almost his entire childhood until he went away to college, thought the idea of moving would be traumatic for kids. Our daughters have convinced him otherwise.
Though it makes sense for us to be where we are right now, and we are fortunate enough to live in a lovely home surrounded by kind friends and neighbors with one set of grandparents a couple of hours away, we haven’t ruled out the possibility of moving some day. I’d love to experience living in another country if the opportunity ever presents itself, and in the middle of a cold Chicago winter, I find myself missing California and Miami. I find it interesting that my two daughters have the same thirst for travel and new experiences, including the desire to live elsewhere, that I’ve always had.
When I attempted to explain the logistics of moving, finding a job in a new place or commuting, leaving our friends and family we have here, selling the house, finding a new place to live, packing everything up, and other details, my six-year-old shrugged it off as insignificant.
“Just bring everything, Mom,” she told me. “Even your sangria.”