October 17, 2022
Tomorrow morning I finally make, what I called in my very first post, “The Move”! That makes today my last full day living here in Tennessee.
Leaving here is a little more bittersweet than I expected. My father was in the Air Force when I was growing up so we were always on the move, never staying in one place more than a few years. Because of that, I’ve never really felt like anywhere was “home”. Eventually Dad retired to his hometown in Tennessee. I met my wife here. After we were married, we ended up moving several times too before our tenth anniversary as she was offered better jobs. After we had our second child we decided to move back to Tennessee so we could raise the kids close to family.
At that time, I considered this place “home” in that it’s where my parents lived, where I went to my last two years of high school, where my wife grew up, and where we met. But in realty, it always felt like just another stop in my lifetime of moving.
I just did the math, and before heading back to Tennessee in 2006, I’d packed up and moved eleven times, which averages out to an out-of-town move for me every three years! (And all but one of those were actually out-of-state moves!)
We’ve lived here for over sixteen years now. And somewhere along the way, it did begin to feel like home. It’s easily the longest I’ve ever lived in a single place. But I think there’s a lot more to it then that. Both kids spent their entire school careers here, from kindergarten to high school graduation, and now college. We’ve got to have every holiday we wanted with extended family. Just like an old man, I’ve been able to show my kids places that were important to me when I used to live here, like my old high school, old jobs, and places I used to perform back in the day when I was actually a musician. That last one was really special because that aspect of my life is something they’ve really never gotten to see. Being able to share that with them really makes it feel like I actually do have deep ties here.
I’ve been able to plant roots here with the assurance, for the first time in my life, that I wasn’t about to have to leave everything behind and start new somewhere else…
…but here I go again.
Making “The Decision” to move yet again in a life full of moving was easy in that I’ve done it so many times that it’s probably less difficult for me than others who stay close to home most of their lives.
Making “The Decision” to move yet again was easy in that we’re moving somewhere that is literally called “The Most Magical Place On Earth”!
But this probably is the hardest move of all in a life full of moving. Now I’m leaving, not only the place I had a lot of good memories of during high school and college years and where I fell in love, but where I have so many memories of my children growing up. Where my daughter played volleyball the first time. Where my son performed in his first musical. The park by the lake where we used to hang out. It’s where I have so many memories of my parents getting to see their grandchildren grow up. Seeing their pepaw dress up as Santa at Christmas. Watching grandma hold their hand as they walk through the zoo. It’s where my wife and I raised our kids to adulthood. Where we were diagnosed with some major medical issues, but fought through them and started doing the work to make them manageable. And it’s where we made plans for our future.
There’s no doubt that Tennessee has become, and will always be, a place I can call home.
While it will be harder to leave here than I expected, I am excited about once again (and for the longest stretch of time without doing so in my life!) making a move and starting a new adventure in a new hometown.
Disney World has always felt like home. I’m looking forward to making it my actual home now too.