No, I am not in the Witness Protection Program

Sometimes when asked for my address I give that blank panic stare. Other times I have to lug myself into the gas station because I’ve typed in the wrong zip code and they think I have a stolen credit card. Many times when I am in a store buying window treatments, I have to go through three homes in my mind to get to the one I am currently living in. I have gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom; you do that too, right, and walked right into a wall.  That’s my life, a coaches’ wife life. See, my husband is a football coach—and a good one. He’s been an assistant coach at a number of high-level college programs (winning two national championships) and currently is an offensive line coach in the NFL. With that often comes opportunity. With opportunity comes moving.  If we are not moving, then we are unpacking and if we are not unpacking then we are just waiting to pack up again. I’m not looking for sympathy, just stating the facts ma’am. 

I soon found out that one of my jobs, as the female leader of our football family is to keep all our lives in order while moving.  Keep us sailing smoothly from one port to the next, all with a smile upon my face. My obvious jobs include collecting all school, medical and dental records, every x-ray and the dog’s records as well. More importantly is not losing that precious collection in transit.  There is the cleaning, listing, staging, and selling of our home while packing it up at the very same time. Then handling all those gut-wrenching goodbyes. I am shaking my head right now because those jobs may look small on paper, yet they take up so much of my whole life. I grade myself hard on this job and will only tolerate a high passing grade.

The first grade is on selling the current home that cared for us. I get attached to our homes. They know so much about us and become part of our family.  They have seen us at our best and worst. They have protected us from weather, helped us prepare meals, entertained friends and family and kept us safe. My goal is to find a potential buyer who will love and care for our home like we did and ultimately buy it. It all begins with the decluttering, depersonalizing and cleaning process. Then we get the home “show ready” which always includes a plate of warm cookies and a note. Oh and then I ask my fairy friends for help. Yes I do have little house fairies, and I am not embarrassed to admit it. They have not failed me yet, so who’s laughing now?

The goodbye is another grade I receive. To me true success is measured by how much we cry when we move. If people will be missed and hearts are sad then I know we have loved and lived there fully. Don’t get me wrong, I do not celebrate all the tears, but I do feel a sense of assurance. My theory is that saying goodbye should be sad. Imagine how sad it would be if you moved and missed no one or vice versa?  That would be the saddest of all.

My other grade comes from finding the next perfect home. It’s such a crapshoot and the clock is always ticking. You listen to endless well-meaning people and their opinions. You scour the Internet reading every opinion on every potential neighborhood, school district and the like. Usually the responsibility for choosing the school district falls squarely into my lap.  Yet, this last move of ours was slightly different. With it being my daughter’s third high school move, and first without her older brother in tow, we let her pick the school. I am not a fan of change and felt we owed her that much. So we met with three different districts school principals. My two children basically asked all the questions while I sat there dumbfounded wondering, “When did they become so grown up?” Once the school was determined, we began the fun part; house hunting.  

We, like most, have our list of demands.  It includes all the basic needs like room and bathroom count and acceptable commute and such.  But it also includes the not-so-basic demands.

1. Laundry CANNOT be in the basement. I watched the movie Amityville Horror as a teen and fear someone will grab my legs as I go up and down the stairs.

2. A place I can see myself inspired to write.

3. A spot for a garden; or if I’m being honest, a place to manage weeds.

4.  Wood burning fireplace would be wonderful!

5. A room for all our friends and family we moved away from to visit, sleep, eat and sign our guestbook. *

6. Most of all, we need to feel that we could live in this home and be happy.

picture courtesy of Madi, after she drove to school this morning just to find out it had been cancelled! 

picture courtesy of Madi, after she drove to school this morning just to find out it had been cancelled! 

I am writing this blog in my latest and most favorite home of all (so far). I felt it the minute I saw her. She sat at the end of a curvy driveway with her back nestled up into the woods.  She is brick with tall black shutters. Her kitchen was quite undersized, outdated but she had a large wood-burning fireplace on one end. Her wood floors creak, her big windows a bit drafty. She is not perfect but she IS beautiful, understated, simple yet strong.  Sometimes when I come home and see her, I cry. She could be and actually is my friend. If she could talk she would thank me for choosing her and for loving her, I just know she would. I would respond with a “No—thank you for being such an important part of our family.” Final Grade: A+.

 Moral: Give your whole heart and soul to every job you do.

Your lucky friend,

 *A little thing I do: A book inconspicuously sits on the bedside table in our guest room.  It is filled with heartfelt sentiments, funny tales, drawings, scribbles and run on sentences from our houseguests. This guestbook is my “bone.”  I hate when friends and family leave and I’m not so fond of the cleanup either. So, I don’t let myself read what they have written until that job is done.  This book is proof that our life may keep us moving away from the people we love, but it can never really keep us apart. When I am sad and lonely, I reread all the posts.  As time has passed, so have some of the people who have stayed with us in our 9 homes.  That makes this little thing I do priceless indeed.