Marni Jameson: Take the misplaced person feelings out of moving
Marni Jameson shares ways to make a new house feel like home.
“I feel like a misplaced person,” Mom repeats like a myna bird.
She wants to go home. The confusing part is she is home.
I know the feeling.
Displacement is the norm lately in our once root-bound family.
The various members of our clan have been moving so much people think we're in the witness protection program.
“This is just temporary,” Mom says, for the 10th time in an hour. She's slipping, and repeats herself. “We're going home tomorrow.”
Home is so very relative.
“I feel like a misplaced person.”
My family's multiple moves reflect our different ages and stages. For reasons that include college, career and elder care, we've all pulled up stakes and are trying to figure out what constitutes home.
The house hopping began 15 months ago. My husband, our two teenage daughters and I moved out of our house in Colorado — our family home for eight years — and went in three directions. I moved with our youngest daughter to Orlando for a job; my husband stayed in Denver for his work. He flies to Florida most weekends. In August, our oldest daughter went off to college in Texas. It was as if someone tossed a hand grenade into the kitchen.
At the airport, they look at us funny — a family with driver's licenses issued in three states. We're like a herd of nomadic cats. I used to say that the only thing I had in common with my family were a few strands of DNA and an address. Now it's just DNA.
Then last month, in the hardest move of all, my brother and I moved our 90-year-old parents into assisted living, and out of the Southern California ranch house they have called home for more than 40 years.
“I feel like a misplaced person,” Mom says. My older daughter and I are visiting.
“I know just how you feel,” I say. Since landing in Florida, I've moved twice. I'm thinking of putting all my furniture on springs, rollers, and pogo sticks.
“But this is just temporary,” she says.
“Yes,” I say. “Everything is.”
“We're going home tomorrow.”
“That's true,” I say. She'll be right here.
While I am all for nesting, moving is a fact of life, particularly for today's modern family, which is living longer, and going greater distances for work and school. Your turn is coming. When it does, here are some generational pointers from my family — the de facto relocation experts — on how to make a new place home:
• Know what you love. And take it with you. Having personally moved twice this past year, I assure you, most material belongings really don't matter. But some do. Look around your home and ask yourself what brings you comfort, and what would break your heart to leave behind. This list should be short. But what's left will help you define your style, your person, your sense of place. For me, it's my French writing desk, a few paintings and a four poster bed that was my parents' wedding bed. My parents wanted their favorite blue chairs, their blue and white dishes, and art and family photos collected over a lifetime.
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