In May things were looking good. The end of the school year was mere weeks away and I had a good, solid plan for transitioning from teaching into writing full-time. We had recently – finally, after nearly three years in the house – put the finishing touches on my office space.
I was feeling really positive about the upcoming changes and looking forward to a relaxing, fun-filled summer with the kids.
Then we got the call, the one that said we had 60 days to move.
In a horrible rental market.
But, good karma and fast thinking saved the day and we ended up in a beautiful home in a different but equally delightful and kid-friendly neighborhood.
Sure, the house is half the size, but we wanted to downsize anyways, right?
I did actually sell my treadmill!
And we did downsize – quite a bit, we thought.
We had a moving sale – we sold the treadmill, a chair, an ottoman, lots of clothes and household items, a desk, nightstands, twin bed frame, wall hangings, horns (don’t ask), skateboard decks, bar stools, a coffee table and more.
We gave furniture away to a family member whose apartment burned to the ground – there went the ottoman, another chair, a table, more bar stools, a dresser and a blender.
We donated a couch to a teacher friend for her classroom.
We hauled a load to Goodwill. And another.
And still it took us 4 full days of moving with: 1 U-Haul rented (and used for) a full 24 hours, one brother (used twice), a father, a sister, a step-mother, a son, and two good and generous friends to get all our stuff out of the old place and into the new.
Except what wouldn’t fit.
That went in the driveway and on the front porch.
I am pretty sure my sanity was in one of the last boxes.
I learned a lot from the move – as one tends to do in times of time-crunched emotional and physical stress.
- I learned about the importance of family and friends – and that I want to be as good a human being as the ones who showed up to help us. In fact, I decided the next time someone says they are moving I pledge to give at least two hours of my time – or better yet give money towards hiring somebody to do the move for them!
- I learned that if the question starts with “Should I keep this…” the answer is “NO.” If you have to ask, Let. It. Go.
- I learned that the Buddhists have it right. Change is inevitable. You must learn to go with the flow. I was reminded of a quote from the movie Croupier, something like “Hold on tightly, let go lightly.”
- I learned that time goes by very quickly. As I went through boxes and boxes of old photos and the kids’ drawings from pre-school and report cards and Mother’s Day cards it came at me over and over again.Then, one morning I was in line at Starbucks and there was this young couple in front of me. I realized I knew the girl — the last time I had seen her she was five and chubby faced and here she was all grown up and making out with her boyfriend while they waited for their lattes. Damn, where did the time go?
- I learned you have to do the right thing, the good thing, the fun thing. You have a choice, make the good one. Don’t postpone joy. Live and feel each moment and be thankful for it.
- During the move I got news that a dear acquaintance passed away. He went to bed on a day like any other, dreaming of his upcoming marriage in his hometown and that was it. He died overnight. I learned that even at our relatively young age, you really might not wake up tomorrow. And if you do your back might be out.
- I also learned, on the first night in the new house, that one of my favorite things on the entire planet is – still – snuggling up with my youngest child, my baby, as he falls asleep on my chest. My “baby” will be 11 in a week’s time. That may well have been the last time he will ever fall asleep on me. But I was there. And he was there. And I enjoyed every sweet, sweaty, fleeting moment of it.
That, my friends, is my deepest hope for you: that you enjoy every sweet and fleeting moment that is given to you.
Even if it takes place while moving boxes for 96 hours.
With exhausted, but not extinguished, love,