I grew up moving every 4-5 years, which did not leave much opportunity for me to have long term relationships with people in one town. When I lived in South Carolina, our moves were close enough to maintain some friendships, but many were lost to distance. It seems incredible to me that I have lived in this one small town now for just over 6 years, split in two parts, which leaves me at living as a part of this community for over 9 years now.
I am now learning the value of relationships and seeing how they change over time. My former students have now become friends, become neighbors, become babysitters, and become very special to me. There aren't very many of them compared to other teachers who have much longer careers than mine, but I think there are somewhere around 400-450 former students of mine out there. Their parents have become sweet friends and even educators in my son's life. I've gotten to watch from afar as they graduated from college, find careers, get married, and have their own babies. I've been able to run into former students at the grocery store and out to eat here in town. It is an honor to be a witness to someone's life for that length of time.
I didn't know the value of long term acquaintance relationships until the last few years. Not that I viewed people as unimportant, but I simply did not know how valuable even people you don't know well can become to you later in life.
As a mother, I wonder about what it would be like for my boys to grow up in a town where they have lived their whole life. How they may learn at a much younger age the importance of people, and how you never know when or how people come back into your life. I've been able to learn through my life experiences how to make friends easily, but not how to keep friends for a long time. I hope to teach that lesson to my boys if I can.