Our moves continued: Three months later, desperately seeking childcare, we relocated to my parents’ house in Massachusetts. (Move number two.) After a few months there, we were back to Brooklyn (move number three), but that was just to wind down our lease. Since we were still working remotely, we drove the moving truck back to Massachusetts, this time to our own (again, temporary) rental in proximity to my parents. (Hello, move number four.) Almost a year later, fully vaccinated, we made our final move: New York, again. (We were so emotional about it, we played Frank Sinatra as we drove over the Brooklyn Bridge.)
But was New York City still my one and only? And after almost two years of transient living, did I have a plug-and-play metric that allowed me to master the art of putting down roots, even the temporary kind?
For me, I decided, making a house a home comes down to a sum of reliable parts: Art and family photos (hell, that temporary wallpaper) hung on the walls at warp speed. My West Elm bed frame that made sleep feel cozy and chill, no matter where I was. The wafting scent of a familiar home-cooked meal. The ability to walk (or drive) aimlessly and still find your way home without GPS.
Also, having someone that you can spontaneously speed dial for local support. In Maine, that was my aunt, who helped us when we lost power one snowy night; in Massachusetts, my high school bestie, who was always down for a socially distanced playdate; in New York, it was an acquaintance who, pre-pandemic, I played regular tennis with—running into her on the street was an automatic boost of joy, comfort and calm. Oh, I also discovered I need a place with an abundance of natural light. (When it streams in, no matter where I live, I feel at home.)
Reflecting back on my rush of relocations brought on by the pandemic, I realized that these qualities were all consistencies-turned-non-negotiables of my existence at every address.