home is where the heart is
Longest hiatus ever. Seriously I had to look up my WordPress password.
New house. New town. New computer. New phone number (for the first time in over 20 years!). Lots of changes. Still adjusting.
Our move went well, but was thoroughly exhausting. Packing up our old place, dealing with logistics, unpacking, getting newly settled — all with a super active toddler — was just hard. I’m still exhausted, more than three weeks later. We’re loving the new place though, our new town and all it has to offer. Feeling rather grateful.
Sadly we lost our fabulous sitter with the move and I haven’t quite figured out the child care situation yet. So I’m extra behind with work, after taking a week off for the move. Plus my home office is set up in the basement, which is not only out of the way but also cold (though it will be nice in summer). Baby Jaye has been waking earlier with shorter naps, and I simply can’t stay up as late as I used to (either to work or blog). Between the lack of help and limited online time, I just haven’t been able to get my groove back yet. Thankfully, my fabulous husband just bought me a new laptop as a very early birthday present, because he realized my predicament and because he is awesome. (Hence this post from the kitchen table.)
We made a big effort to help Baby Jaye adjust to the new place by explaining everything way in advance and by bringing her here a lot before the move. She even began to recognize the new neighborhood before it was ours. In those last few weeks at our old place, I told her that “soon we’ll say goodbye to the ‘old’ house,” that we may miss it, but that we’ll say “thanks for being our home and for all the good times,” for greeting Jaye when she was just a teeny tiny baby, etc. I told her that soon we’d bring all the boxes we were packing to the “new” house. She totally got it. Slowly we started bringing her toys and things to her new room, and every time we’d visit she’d sit right down on the floor and ask for snacks. I set up her room first, so it would feel comfy and familiar. Soon she started howling excitedly like a wolf, “new hooouuuuse!”
On our last morning in the old house, before the movers arrived and before I took Baby Jaye over to her sitter’s house (for the first and last time), I held her little hand as the two of us walked through each room and said goodbye. I teared up as we got to her baby room, looked up at her mural, our labor of love, and said “Bye bye tree, bye sun, bye moon, bye flowers, bye butterflies. We’ll miss you…” Then I hugged her tight as we walked out the door.
Still, even three weeks after our move, every once in a while she’ll say “bye bye old house, miss you! thank you!” And now she calls this place “home.”
They say home is where the heart is and I think it’s true. We knew we’d make new memories in our new place. We know this is the home our daughter will remember, as she’s not even two yet. I’ll hold special memories of our old house as the place that healed us as we prepared to become parents after years of trying and failing, after years of waiting. After 15 years in our old old house, after we lost our son, we moved there to begin a new life. We lived there four years, through treatments, through adoption. It was the home where we welcomed our little girl, where she learned to crawl, where she took her first steps, where she first called us Mama and Dada.
I loved our old place, quirks and all. Outside was a gorgeous setting in the woods on a creek. Inside there was a warmth about it. Yet as we began to pack our things over the course of a month or two, slowly the soul of our home seemed to, well, disappear. It seemed less like our home, and more like an empty house that we still lived in. Strangely, it was physically colder. I got a chill in the evenings I never experienced before. I started to feel sick, tired. The warmth of the place simply vanished. It wasn’t just our stuff, either, as it’s not like I’m so attached to our possessions, or so I thought. If we lost everything tomorrow, we would still have each other, our family, the most important thing.
Yet our home is the manifestation of the life we have built over twenty years together. As we packed up our lives in boxes once more, it seemed that the warmth and breath and life slowly crept from our home. It was an eerily odd sensation, especially on top of the overwhelming magnitude of the task at hand.
So it was a relief to finally get to the other side, to begin to settle in a place that we would make our own, our own home, where we would stay and build a new life, making space for the pieces of our old life — our history — and create new memories as a family of three.
p.s. I’ve been lame and have barely taken any pictures — if it were not for M, I’d still be living out of boxes — but for those interested, Baby Jaye’s new room is a gorgeous rich lavender color and she loves it!
p.p.s. I’ve missed you all, though I’ve been trying to follow along, if a little behind and too lame to comment as much. If anyone is still reading, that is.