One website listed moving right after the death of a loved one and divorce. It reminded readers that it takes time to settle in. No kidding.
I’m almost there except for one box that remains missing—probably forever—but am still obsessing over. When I called the moving company and asked if they had a lost and found or any unclaimed boxes sitting around she asked me to identify the box. I had to laugh, remembering the scene before the movers arrived and the smaller apartment on the other end of the move, glutted to the gills. I couldn’t remember the box, just the contents. After she looked around without success, we had the required friendly moving is a bitch commiseration chat, and ended the call. Wherever my yoga mat and over-door hangers went, I hope they’re happy!
Now that the boxes are off to the recycling plant, we have the deck ready, and the pictures are up, I am starting to feel at home. As I wrote in my memoir, Getting to Home, it doesn’t take that much to get me there. During this move, however, with downsizing the goal, my sentimentality quotient was as low as my blood sugar. Things got sold, donated, or dumped that shocked the well-known minimalist streak in me.
Since my oldest daughter and I live together, there were moments where we needed to consult, to check in when an item on the “chopping block” was something we had given to each other. It was a highlight for me, to be that honest and clear about “stuff,” while it is nice and often serves a purpose, is still just stuff and did not hurt my feelings or hers to say “out it goes.”
In the middle of packing I found one box at the back of the closet full of papers, letters and assorted greeting cards mainly from my daughters. Why was I keeping them? Of course, being told your kids love you after their teen years is a triumph, but it occurred to me that it was more about my needing to be reassured.
Looking through them was a mixed experience. Their heartfelt words and quirky scribbles (hearts, cat paws) were warming and welcome. But also a reminder that I had been their parent and bungled things, time and again, and how much regret I still felt about those scenes and incidents when the mother I had dreamed of being was not the yelling witch I was sure I had been—certainly in their eyes and still in mine.
Also in the box were drawings and letters I had saved from their childhood, mostly sent when they were with their dad for a few weeks in the summer. I loved the look back into their early-teen take on things. Not that much has changed. They are still funny, observant, especially of human inconsistencies and foibles, and remain sisters, through and through.
Given my history of new beginnings, I love that moving brings with it a new town, a new home, and the chance to start again. Just so you know—I’m not overlooking Ram Das’s wise: “wherever you go, there you are.” Without the time consuming volunteering I did before, my days are more open. Last night I wrote out in detail what I’ve labeled “a suggestion” to get more writing done, hoping not to stir up my stubborn, don’t tell me what to do streak. I have proposed a schedule of more writing with purpose, less internet wanderings. I am trying to honor what I learned from looking back through my life during this particular move. I have a strong desire to take advantage of the life and time I have left, when I can come to my desk and be the happiest I ever am—writing.
Greetings from Bellingham, WA – my new beautiful town!