How We Say Goodbye to a Home as a Military Family

neutral themed living room with grey sofa and green plants with

Lingering moving boxes remain tucked away in our basement, filled with donations or items to sell. My son’s artwork covers the fridge, proud trophies from his days spent at his new school. Toys scatter the yard, loved on by new neighborhood children we meet when we spend our days outside. Pictures hang on the wall, with most having found their home. From time to time, I rearrange or change things, but it is beginning to feel like home. Like dust, we settle into our new routine. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

This is our fourth time unpacking a home as an active duty family.

These four moves span two continents and a thousand memories made in between. There is both intense sorrow in saying goodbye to a home and sweet anticipation of the next. These moves pull us in a thousand directions, often asking us to stand in two homes, states, or countries at once.

To make these difficult transitions more palpable, I have found solace in commemorating the homes of our past and present through opening and closing ceremonies. 

I discovered the concept of opening and closing ceremonies through Kendra Adachi’s The Lazy Genius Way.

Kendra points out, “Saying goodbye to one season and saying hello to another is incredibly powerful, and doing it with intention even more so. There is such value in looking back, maybe even reflecting a little on what happened, how we grew, what we enjoyed, and being grateful for that season for what it was. It is a way to close out with intention. The same is true entering into a new season. It is lovely to intentionally say hello and recognize the beginning of something new.” 

The concept tailors towards changing of seasons, the holidays, etc. But I adapted the concept to fit our military moves. 

To say goodbye to a home, I have the exterior of our home watercolored and framed. It brings such harmony to our military journey, having a collection of our past homes. The artist paints in the address on the front. On the back, I write down major life events as well as my favorite parts of the home. It is a way to intentionally reflect on how this home served our family and how grateful I am for the life we lived at that address.

Our Watercolors of a past home and our wedding venue

I then pack the artwork in our suitcases, and it is the first collective piece to hang in our new home! 

It isn’t grand; it isn’t expensive. But it is incredibly meaningful to our family.

This rhythm serves our family as a loving way to say a grateful goodbye to what we loved in a home and to look forward to our new home as we continue our military journey.

I encourage you to take time to observe if there are areas in your family’s military journey that could benefit from opening and closing ceremonies!