My family moved around a lot when I was growing up. All four of us kids were born in different states, and by the time I left home, I’d lived in 11 different places. I know how to pack. Kate calls me the Tetris master. I will search the house for an object of just the right size to fill up a box, and if we’re not done using it, too bad. It fits, it’s gotta go. (Drives Kate just a little crazy, but as long as I don’t pack the remotes, I figure I’m good.)
What I don’t have a lot of experience with is pulling up roots. Deep roots. I’ve never lived anywhere for as long as we’ve lived here. Twenty five years. We moved here when our kids were two and six. Over the years, we settled heavily in this house (the timeline of renovation projects alone is a rich family history), and the tendrils of our roots wind far and wide into this neighborhood, this community, this region. I’ve not only watched my kids grow up; I’ve watched my grocery clerks hit middle age, my pharmacist survive cancer, my neighbors become grandparents.
It’s a different thing, dismantling a life. I can pack like a pro, and I’m good at limiting memorabilia to a few boxes and letting go of things we don’t use or love. But as we strip our home of all things personal, I’m fighting this raw feeling in my gut. I still charge forward with my checklist and clipboard, but it scares me to see this house grow empty.
We’re coming back, I swear. I have to believe that, even though Kate has made me promise to keep myself open to all possibilities. And I want that. But I also want to come home again. Back to the friends we’ve been growing gray with, to this house and town I love. Because as much as I am eager for adventure and newness every day, there is something so warm and comforting about the familiar.
I just keep moving, and we’re making huge headway. We’ve found a property manager who is experienced with renting furnished houses, and we like her a lot. She gave us very clear directions about what to store and what to leave out. Last weekend we kicked it into high gear and started moving most our antiques into the downstairs bedroom, which we will lock up. We’ve taken most of our artwork down, packed up books and kitchen stuff. There is an end in sight. We’re now shooting for a launch date at the beginning of March.
Also, we now have a name for RV: Bessie the Behemoth. I had wanted to come up with a name that had “moo” in it, because this purchase was made possible by an inheritance from my mother, and her nickname was Moo. My sister helped out with some great suggestions including Mighty Moo, Mooooving On!, Marvelous Moo, and the Road Mooster. But none of them clicked. We just kept referring to her as the Behemoth, and last night we both landed on Bessie (which is a good cow’s name, too).