It Just Happens

To those that know me, it is no secret that I have an obsession with children's literature. Shortly after I graduated from college and around the time I met Mr. I., I began collecting children's books under the pretenses of having them for my future children. This is partly true. But there are some that I probably enjoy more than the kids do.

Lately, one of Mr. J.'s favorite bedtime stories has been The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster (2005). It's a story narrated by a little girl who loves to go visit her grandparents. She loves their house, especially the kitchen window, which everyone has to pass to get into the house, as well as when they leave. She calls it the "hello, goodbye window." At the end of the story  (don't worry, not giving away any huge plot twists here!) her parents come to pick her up, and she describes in very child-appropriate terms, what we adults call "mixed feelings."

She says, "You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know. It just happens that way sometimes."

And how very, very true that is. And how very fitting that this has become one of Jack's favorites so close to moving time for us. This is one of those times where I think his book has taught me more than it has taught him.

This is our first move from a base as a military family. True, we had to move to get here, and we had to leave friends then. And Mr. I. and I both have had to move before for college, for graduate school, etc. But those moves were very different in that when you go into a living situation for school, you know that you'll only be there temporarily, and I don't think that those places ever really feel like "home."

Over the last 2.5 years, though, Grand Forks has really become "home" to us. It is the only home either of our children know. We have made many very dear friends here, and have to say goodbye to them. Some we may see again in the future. Some we may never see or hear from again. This is hard to fathom.

And, so, as exciting as it is to be moving on to a new, exotic location, as exciting as it is to get to go to our hometowns and visit before we head off to said exotic location, it has become surprisingly hard and emotional to say goodbye to our home, and we must keep reminding ourselves: "You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know. It just happens that way sometimes."


  1. As someone who has spent a good deal of her adult life calling everything from host families, to many apartments and houses, and even hotel rooms home...I feel I should share something that someone once told me in UWP - Home no longer is a place you live, but who you are with and the experiences you have - wherever you are. It's kind of nice to think that its not a place or things, and that you can always make anywhere you are home :)

  2. This is very true. And it's all made a bit easier (for the adults, at least) by the fact that the internet makes it very easy to stay in touch with friends and family, no matter where you are.

  3. Johnny Mercer would agree with Jenn -- He wrote "Anyplace I hang my hat is home."