Some people spend their whole youth—or perhaps their whole lives even—in one place. That wasn’t me. My family moved a lot.
When I was four we moved from Virginia Beach—where I was born—to Alexandria—a suburb of Washington D.C.
When I was eleven, we moved to London for a year.
When I was twelve, we moved back to America: first back to Alexandria for a month and then across the country to San Diego, California.
My dad still lives in San Diego. My mom did too until she passed away three years ago. But I kept moving.
At twenty-six, I moved to Los Angeles.
At twenty-nine, I moved to Eugene, Oregon.
I expected to move again once I finished school. I applied for teaching jobs all across the country and I interviewed for colleges in places as diverse as Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Hawaii.
But I stayed.
Growing up, I changed schools between towns and in towns. I attended five different schools from preschool to sixth grade. I was always the new kid and it stunk being the new kid. I didn’t know anyone. I had no stability; no roots.
I still feel that way. I’m not sure whether to call Alexandria my hometown, even though I haven’t been back in thirty-four years, or to call San Diego my hometown, even though I never felt like a native Californian.
I don’t know where my hometown is, but I know where my home is. It’s here, with my wife and my daughter. I’ve stopped moving. I’ve decided to stay.
And give my daughter the one thing I never had: stability.
At least until she grows up and I have to let her go.