Last Friday my husband and I closed on our first house. Next Friday we plan to move to that house. I say house because it’s not a home yet—not for us anyway. And I say first house too, because despite never having owned a house before, we have had many different homes.Our first home was the three-room shotgun duplex that forced you to walk through the bedroom to get to the kitchen…

Our second, a converted two-car garage that made the perfect newly-wed cottage… until baby made three which led us to…

Our third home, the rental house that my husband leased and moved in to one weekend while I was out of town for a wedding… without my knowing about it.

Our fourth home was a borrowed house in Hastings, New Zealand complete with an ancient pony, two dogs, and fields of neighboring sheep.

Our fifth, the townhouse we quickly rented on our return to the States when I was thirty-five weeks pregnant with #2 and we didn’t yet have a place to live.

Our sixth home was a parsonage we moved to with two weeks notice, a parsonage on the church’s property that had a three-thousand gallon coal-fired boiler in the basement…

And our latest home is the apartment we came to when we had to quickly leave aforementioned parsonage, the apartment in the town (three states away) that I had never even seen until we pulled up in our rented Penske moving truck.

And now nearly eleven years, seven moves, three states, and two countries later, we’re heading to our eighth home and our first house.

This week several friends have asked me how I’m coping with the moving and packing. Their question is usually accompanied by a compassionate empathy, the commiseration of a species who fundamentally hates to be uprooted and understands far too well the work and hassle of transplanting family. I simply reply that in all probability this will be our easiest move yet. Having actually seen this house and being familiar with the area, I feel well ahead of the game.

And yet, there’s a sadness about moving even when it’s on to bigger and better (and hopefully, more permanent) things. A sadness that comes from leaving new-found friends and leaving the house that sheltered my family, even if ever so briefly. For me, it’s saying good-bye to the walls that watched my children play, the windows that shined sunlight on their waking faces, and the rooms that were silent witnesses to the love and joy and pain of being family.

And I find I leave a bit of myself in each place.

**(The picture above is not our new house but isn't it lovely? Perhaps one day, when we're sixty-years married, my husband and I can nest there.)