Well, it seems we have survived the move. We survived the physical move and the packing/ transporting/ unpacking of our items. We survived the mental move and the logistics of setting up new utilities, enrolling in new schools, and finding new caretakers. And somehow we even survived the emotional move-- taking our last walks around the neighborhood, playing at our familiar parks, and hugging our friends and neighbors goodbye.
On the morning of the physical move, I watched as movers loaded the contents of our entire home into a giant truck and drive away. They drove away with my keepsakes from years past, my kids' lovies from crib days, and scrapbooks documenting so many travels and journeys. They loaded up our furniture-- the stuff we've jumped on, cuddled on, cried on...and took it somewhere new. They took our photos, our wall decor, our trinkets and put them in a box and put that box on a truck and drove the truck away. They even loaded up every random item in the garage- bikes and garden tools and toys and rakes and sleds and shovels and drove away with those too. As I stood there on that Monday and watched that green truck head East, I felt almost as empty as the house I was leaving.
The feelings of emptiness clung to me as I drove to our new home later that evening. I couldn't shake them even as I saw Mason that night. Our new house was a big empty space of nothing. It felt like a black hole to me-- one that held no memories and housed none of my possessions. I couldn't visualize myself ever happily living in it. Our new house is the picture of suburbia-- brick and landscaped and sprawled out on almost one acre of manicured lawn, it's more house than four people will ever need. And while this doesn't sound all bad, I ached for our small ranch in our mature blue collard neighborhood. I worried that I wouldn't ever fit in here, would never belong, could never possibly relate to "these people" who lived in places "like this". I asked myself, "Who am I to live in this huge house with this gorgeous yard?" In some weird way, I felt a little guilty for living here-- what will people think? What will people say? Does this reflect who I am? The people we are? I'm still not exactly sure where these insecurities come from but I've managed to loosen my grasp on them a bit in the past few days. During those moments of sadness and emptiness, a tiny voice deep inside whispered to embrace these feelings long enough to process them. That same voice reminded me that feelings don't last forever and neither do transitions.
Four days after the movers unloaded our boxes, the four of us loaded up the minivan and headed to the cottage. I had given Mason strict instructions not to mention the "D" word (Dubuque) or the "H" word (House) or the "S" word (stuff). My goal was to completely take my mind off of these things for nine days. I was on the brink of breaking-- dozens of boxes were still not unpacked, things were disorganized and chaotic, and moving into a house with an unfinished kitchen meant camp cooking in the basement (and washing dishes in a bathroom) and maybe worst of all-- drinking wine out of red solo cups.
That Saturday, as we crossed the Mississippi River into Wisconsin I let my shoulders relax and took a deep breath. With just enough distance between me and this new house, I allowed myself to imagine a tiny sliver of possibility. As we drove north and the distance increased, that sliver grew ever slightly. And as we pulled into our driveway up North and rolled down the windows to allow the heavy pine scent waft into the van, I finally felt myself let go just a bit.
Over the next week, I felt more "at home" than I had in the last weeks leading up to the move. We woke early, planted ourselves on the dock, swam, fished, walked, talked, drank wine, and repeated it all again the next day. As our kids played and splashed nearby, I was able to talk freely and vulnerably with Karen and Mindy, and their listening ears and encouraging words added another layer of support to my new foundation.
And now, exactly one month after our move, I'm feeling better. I'm in a good place, with a good attitude, with the ability to see the possibilities that are all around us. I still have little waves of nostalgia for our old house and our old neighborhood and our old town-- which will always hold a special place in my heart. But I've been very intentional about giving this house and this street and this town a chance. I've hung things on the walls and spruced up the rooms and we are completely overhauling our kitchen-- all of which make this space feel more like "home". We've spent time outside getting to know the neighborhood and can honestly say that we hit the jackpot when it comes to our neighbors-- all of whom are so warm and welcoming and kind. Now that my sadness has lessened, I'm able to see the possibilities all around us and that emptiness is being replaced with excitement for what's yet to come.
|This photo was taken at one of the public Dubuque pools-- which we had to check out right before they closed for the season. I've been meaning to get a picture of the kids by the "Welcome to Asbury" sign... but apparently that is too much work!!|