Packing with a toddler is no joke, people. Stuff goes in a box and comes right back out. Everything has to be handled and played with and turned into a “baby” or a “mommy”. Everything is her “favorite” or the “best one” or “WE CAN’T GIVE THAT AWAY, PACK IT!” The actual taping shut of the boxes has to be done post-bedtime so she’ll forget all about their contents in the morning. Out of sight, out of mind. And don’t even get me started on trying to pack the fragile stuff. There’s just no way to safely do this with two little excited “helping” hands nearby. But, in all seriousness, packing up a house is a whole lot of work. And I’m learning that it can be a little emotional as well.
So much of our heart lies in our home. Our safe place. Our gathering place. The place where we can be comfortable in our own skin, loved by those who matter most. So many emotions and memories lie in our homes. Last year, my 90-year-old grandmother bravely decided to sell the only house I’ve ever known as hers and move to a new state. I’ll be honest, it was hard for me, even from 600 miles away. Her house was where our large family gathered, it’s where I woke up many Christmas mornings, wandering sleepily into the great room to peek at the twinkling tree before devouring hot cinnamon rolls. It’s where we baked pies in her 1950’s style yellow kitchen. It’s where we drank sparkling cider from fancy crystal glasses pretending to be grown up. While my mom and dad and others were packing it up, I realized my sister and I would never have sleepovers there again, or roll around in the king-size water bed, or take sudsy baths in the giant red tub. And it was sad! Selling a home and moving is becoming for me such a tangible reminder that life changes and that we have to change with it.
Moving from our 800 square foot apartment to our current home wasn’t that difficult or sentimental for me. We didn’t have much furniture and we had tons of wedding gifts we couldn’t even open because we had nowhere to store them. We were tired of the screeching and banging of the train yards nearby and the noisy college-aged upstairs neighbors. So we were mostly just ecstatic to have our own home, our own space. A little pizza and beer, some friends, and we had that whole place packed up in one Uhaul and in the new house within a couple of hours. Once the dust had settled, we realized that our small Target build-your-own furniture line (thanks Daddy) looked almost comical in the new place. We ended up slowly acquiring actual grown up pieces, one room at a time. It was fun to pick out which pieces would go in our new home and how we wanted to arrange them. And we turned this place into such a comfortable home.
Now, though, as I move from room to room, packing boxes and taking photos off the walls, and picturing where in the new house things will go, I’m getting a little emotional. This house is more than sticks and bricks. It is the first place we really called home. It’s where we learned how to do this thing called marriage (even though we’re still learning). It’s where we grew our family. It’s given us almost a decade of shelter from storms, a place to cool down, and sweet memories.
If our walls could talk, the dining room would tell of laughter, of food, of red velvet cupcakes and New Mexican green chile enchiladas. It would tell you of family and of friends-turned-family. It would tell you of new Christmas traditions and little ones learning to eat solid food.
The nursery would tell of a daddy who installed a chair rail and painted the two-toned room entirely by himself so the mother of his baby girl would not have to breathe in paint fumes. It would tell you how he put together the crib and changing table and dresser lovingly by hand. It would tell you of new parents bringing home their first child, terrified, but absolutely in love with each other and with her. It would tell you of bedtime giggles and stories, still-wet hair from the bath, and warm pjs. It would tell you how three years later, it got a fresh coat of paint and new decor to make room for a new little brother.
The room across the hall could tell of it’s makeover into a big girl room as she prepared to become a sister. It could tell how her daddy taped and painted teal stripes and how we made a soft and comfy space to snuggle up to read together. How her mommy sorted and organized her books in colorful baskets so she could journey to different lands and laugh at silly storylines and learn all about the world without leaving her seat.
The front bedroom is the most-changed of the house. Of all its uses, an office, a play room, a guest room, it would probably say that its favorite time was when it was full of squealing children (or sometimes just one), building with legos, singing the ABCs, hiding in a teepee, doing a quiet puzzle.
And the big open living room would tell all kinds of stories, of lazy days with SVU marathons, legs draped over leather armchairs, too involved in a delicious novel to bother getting up. It would tell you of clumsy puppies slipping on the tile and the pitter-patter of toddler feet chasing the “bad guys” away. It would tell of gathering, and togetherness, and quality time.
So, leaving this home, our first as a family, is hard, but I know in time our new home will come to mean just as much to me because it will be filled with those I love the most. After all, it’s not so much where we are that matters, but who we’re with. And I can’t wait to see what stories our new home will eventually have to tell.
Currently Reading: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In light of the recent debate surrounding immigration, this novel about a Nigerian who comes to America is quite timely. It also follows the story of her first love who ends up not in America, but England instead. I haven’t gotten very far into it yet, but so far, I’m loving the writing and already feel connected to the characters.
Currently Cooking: So, I’m on a huge salad kick right now. And I’ve decided that arugula is THE green stuff to build salads on. My favorite combination this week is:
- green apple- sliced very thin
- dried cranberries
- toasted almonds or pecans- I just put 1 tbsp of kerrygold butter in a skillet, throw in a cup of sliced almonds or pecan halves, salt to taste, and stir over medium heat until nuts are light brown
- salt and pepper (I have learned to fully appreciate these two very simple but important ingredients!)
- olive oil and lemon juice to taste
- grilled chicken
This makes the perfect summer salad-light and refreshing!
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Thanks for reading and until next time, peace and love from my household to yours.