A song has been playing in my head for the last couple of weeks. It's not one of those annoying songs that won't go away. It's more like a theme song. I don't even know all the verses, but the chorus goes like this:
And it's a winding road, I've been walking for a long time
I still don't know, Where it goes
And it's a long way home
I've been searching for a long time
I still have hope
I'm gonna find my way home"
- Bonnie Somerville, Winding Road
(also known as Track 13 on The Garden State soundtrack)
For those who haven't heard the story, the short version is that my husband and I (and now daughter too) have spent our entire marriage -- all eight years of it -- moving from Arizona to Michigan to Tennessee to South Carolina. The first move was for grad school (me)/med school (him), and the two since have been for his medical training. When I'm in a good mood, I call it the gypsy phase of our life. And when I'm in a bad mood, I grumble bits about indentured servitude and the effin' match system and why couldn't I have married him after he gallivanted about?
Truly, though, I've been grateful for some wandering. I've lived in different parts of the country, done different jobs, and made friends along the way. But now, with Ron's training coming to an end, Claire ready to enter kindergarten in two years, and another baby on the way, I'm longing for a place to put down some roots.
I don't know where that place will be. I know a lot of people return to the nest of family, and every time I hear that people are getting together for dinner, or grandmas are spending time with the other grandkids, I long for that. But when we're being honest, the Phoenix area doesn't have much appeal otherwise. It's hot -- damn hot -- and new and shiny but without a lot of character. My soul is definitely at home in the desert, it's just not so sure about the sprawling urban terrain of strip malls and look- alike houses.
Which begs the question, if not there, then where? And as Ron begins his job search, that's the one we're contemplating. There are so many factors to consider -- job set-up for him, career potential for me, cost of living, state of the public school system, climate -- and we're willing to accept that there isn't likely to be one perfect place that meets all of our criteria.
But in the midst of all of those bullet points, there is a bigger picture, a picture of home. The place where we will raise our children. Where we will finally own a real house whose walls we're not afraid to paint. Where we'll spend birthdays and holidays and everydays, making memories as a family.
No one else can tell us what that place should and will be. We have to sort through it ourselves, trusting our hearts and our intuitions and believing that life is about more than salary offers and convenient geography. I'm just hoping that, in the end, we do find our way home.