Two Homes (or three, or four)

I don’t know if this is normal, but I have a hard time letting go of homes.  Of course, anything outside of CONUS is easy.  But if we move within a day’s drive, I try to pretend that I still sort of live in my old home while making a life at my new home.  The result is a special sort of multiple personality disorder that results in a ridiculous amount of driving and scheduling stress.  Throw in some part of my family anywhere nearby and the amount of time behind the wheel increases even more.

In the month of April, I drove to our old duty station at least three times for various reasons.  Birthday parties, rental house issues and time with friends are all good reasons to make the two hour trip, and I usually justify the drive by adding on extra errands that are easier to do there, such as taking clothes to my favorite consignment shop or depositing some checks.  However, that two hour drive easily becomes an all day adventure, consuming large amounts of time and expensive gasoline.

I tried to rationalize this behavior because we are moving back to the area, fairly soon, and I need to get acclimated and organized.  Then I realized that this is a pattern.  When we left Norfolk for D.C., it took nearly a year for me to sever my ties enough that I could only go down a few times a year.  Heck, we even had a birthday party for one of my kids in Virginia Beach when we lived in D.C.  That’s where her friends were, and that’s what she wanted.  And though it has been four and a half years since we moved from there, we’re all eagerly anticipating a trip this summer.  We have a favorite BOQ, we know where we want to eat, and we have an address book full of friends to cram into our short visit.

And then there’s the family issue.  When you’ve lived thousands of miles away and needed a passport to get home, it almost seems mandatory that you show up to every event within several hours distance.  I am so glad to be close enough to participate in their lives, but it makes me feel like a rubber band sometimes.  I remember when we first moved within two hours of my family, I volunteered to drive to my mom’s house for my brother’s birthday.  I was so excited that I could do that!  Only as I carried my sleeping children out of the car at midnight did I realize that maybe I couldn’t do this for every birthday.

I don’t know if this is just me, if it is a military thing, or if it is just the result of our transient society.  And I don’t know if it is good or bad, or probably somewhere in between.  But boy does it make me tired!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Jewel

    The closest we’ve ever been stationed to either one of our “real” homes was still a 4 1/2 hour drive for us. But I will say that every place we’ve ever been stationed feels like home to me. I remember driving back to one base not too long ago to start our 2nd tour there and I found tears streaming down my face because it felt like going home to me. We knew so many people from our first assignment there and had made wonderful friendships with several people from town, that I was thrilled to be going back and renewing those friendships. What is that saying? Home is where the (insert branch of service here) sends you!

  • Karen

    I have such fond memories of every home we’ve lived in. We have the “just got married” house, the “we are now parents” house, the “I think I need to start MY career” house, the “Oh my goodness I’m living in a foreign country” house, and the “current.. I don’t want to move again” house. And believe it or not, I am totally looking forward to all our “future” houses.