Every Two Years It Happens

If someone did time-lapse photography of the inside of our house right now, you would see this: cardboard boxes and plastic containers entering the house, some empty, some flat. Then the boxes and containers would begin eating everything we own, stuffing themselves. Finally, they stumble into one corner and sit there, satiated.

Every two years this feast for the boxes takes place.

* * * * *

In 1999, Maile and I moved to Florida. I overindulged in Cheerwhine and we argued with our friend Ryan Swain as to whether or not the small(ish) round fruit growing on trees in our backyard were lemons or oranges. We spent most of our time there carefree, newly married, and a little homesick.

In 2001, we moved to a small cottage named Rocketer in the English countryside (they name their houses over there).

We helped start a business. We grew to love London, bangers and mash, and Indian food. We had our first child and brought him home to a nursery with a back window through which we could hear the lambs bleating in the spring. We argued with our friends regarding the reason so few Americans have their passports. We spent most of our time amazed, stressed out with the business, and somewhat homesick.

In 2003, we moved into an even smaller cottage in Wendover, only a few miles away. We walked into town for groceries and spent Sunday afternoons walking along a narrow canal, watching the ducks. We had our second child at the small hospital a few miles away.

In 2005, we moved to Virginia.

I ran a business and we found a church we loved. The babies became toddlers. I wrote my first book.

In 2007, we moved to a different house, same neighborhood. The business started to slide. We had two more babies. Our friends grew closer. I grew more stressed out. I wrote my second book. Our debt simply grew.

In 2009, we moved into my parent’s basement because we were so far in debt we couldn’t breathe. The six of us settled into subterranean life as I tried to make a living as a writer. It was an amazing adventure. In 2010 we moved into a lovely little house in the country with a garden and a stream and woods and something that felt like hope.

And now, two years later, we are moving again. This time into a bus for four months and then, after that, who knows where. Maybe back into this neighborhood, where I grew up. Maybe into Lancaster City. Maybe into a cabin somewhere between here and California. Who knows.

But tonight I’m kind of tired. I’m tired of boxes and a house that feels upside-down. I’m tired of moving. I’m tired of stubbing my toes on things that no longer have a place.

I’m so ready to be on the road.

I’m not much for complaining, but today I need some fellow whiners…anyone else out there tired? What are you tired of?

19 Replies to “Every Two Years It Happens”

  1. I am tired, my friend, of not feeling settled, of always feeling like I’m being pulled along to something new. I’m tired of moving, and right now, I’m tired of things being in storage. I miss my couch.

    I know where you are, Shawn, and I do not envy you. Except that I do, a little. Maybe that’s why I move often, too. That prospect of a new start, new experiences is always enticing.

    Praying that you feel excitement rather than stress, hope instead of sadness today.

  2. We did seven moves in 14 years, too. And, there’s this house we have our eye on here in Bradenton. Ha. I hope we stay in this area for a while, but who knows, right?

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your trip, though, much as you are looking forward to starting it.

  3. Hi, Shawn,
    I don’t know if you remember me from Messiah (we took intro to poetry together). Anyway. Not important. I see your posts via Andi Cumbo, and have now officially subscribed. This one in particular gave comfort in that see-we’re-not-the-only-ones kind of way. (We moved from CA to MD only to turn around and move back into our house in CA 6 months later, among many other moves). Thank you for the transparency you offer in your writing.

    1. Yes! Hi, Elissa. Thanks for stepping out and identifying with us, and also thanks for your comment. It’s the togetherness of shared experience that makes life so rich.

  4. I’m tired of:

    Sleep apnea
    A recently-developed sialorrhea
    Never feeling rested
    Total over-dependence on caffeine (I don’t measure in cups, rather pints)
    The headspace all the foregoing puts me in.

    Despite this, I am thankful for His grace that is sufficient, and His strength that is perfected in my weakness.

  5. Man. I feel ya. I’m tired. I’m tired of this homeschool struggle, when the eldest fights me on time management and the youngest fights me on subtraction. Of not having any order at all to my day when that it what I crave more than almost anything. Tired of the only quiet moment in my day being when my head finally hits the pillow. Tired of so so much.

    I am also excited. Excited for things I look forward to happening. But yeah. I’m tired. I just texted my husband: “I would give anything for a Coke and 20 minutes with my pillow.”

    Hang in there, brother.

  6. I can relate to all of the moving Shawn. That’s been our story too, always moving. I’ve been so relieved that we can stay in one place for four whole years! I got sick and tired of 2-3 projects this week and had a mini-meltdown yesterday afternoon. I have two major, deeply important book projects that I need to get off the ground sooner than later, and I just felt like these projects were holding me back. Thankfully the mood passed, but I’m still trying to find enough time to get those projects together before our baby arrives in July.

  7. Yeah I hear ya…. I’ve got about 2 1/2 weeks until we continue on the second leg of our journey.. Sitting around waiting gets old. But the minute the rubber hits the road that wait becomes worth it!! Good luck on your journey fellow traveler. My prayers are with you and your family.

  8. I literally get depressed at the idea of moving again. We have moved 7 times in the last 12 years of our marriage. My husband has the opportunity to transfer to his home city where his parents are. I know he misses them, but is that reason enough to up root our family, yet again? We were stationed in 3 places, and our last move was due to the owner putting the house we were renting on the market. Now, it’s this job. I told him I would consider a move to a “blue” state if the move was paid for straight out or it was for a promotion that would pay off the move in the first year. The cost of living is higher and so is the crime. I would so be more willing if we didn’t have an almost 3 year old and an almost 4 year old in the picture. They have friends in the area and my almost four year old is doing great in preschool. Heck, I’m making friends and I am so tired of having to say good-bye. My heart hurts. Also, my father lives within 2 hours of us and he’s much older than his parents. I’m hoping that planning more frequent visits will help sway him to stay. Right now I feel like I have a boyfriend that is breaking up with me. Will he always want to be moving? I’m emotionally exhausted.

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