Every once in awhile I’ll browse the archives of this blog in search not of anything in particular but rather a snapshot of what life was like in a given month. It always makes me want to go back and tell my then self thank you for writing that down. I would have forgotten otherwise. Future self is on my mind today as I write this one. She’ll thank me for it someday.
We moved. We packed every last thing–lingering LEGO blocks and random wire hangers and long lost bouncy balls from under the couch–and we moved it all. It took us two times loading and unloading the biggest U-Haul truck they would rent us. And then we had to rent a smaller one for the last minute things we went back for. We thought they’d fit it in the van but didn’t.
The last six weeks or so in that house weren’t comfortable. Whether it was a coping mechanism or not I can’t say for sure but we’d started to pick the place apart in our minds. All those little complaints started piling up like litter on the floor and before long we found ourselves ankle-deep, shuffling through them. We were so eager to put it all behind us. But then we emptied everything out and when it started to get echo-y in there it made my heart hurt a little. On our last day, Jeff was cleaning the outside while I was polishing up inside. I walked from room to room to make sure everything was in order and my stubborn memory tricked me into a slideshow. There was the glider rocker in the corner of the boy’s room where I spent hour upon hour reading to him. And the penciled-in growth chart Torri thought she’d hidden well on the back wall of her bedroom. There was the breakfast nook where all five of us sat on the floor with McDonald’s the night we closed on the house and got the keys. There were the echoes of slamming doors as sweet little baby girls grew into moody teens. There was the haunt of twinkling Christmas lights and backyard bonfires and sparklers lit up on the 4th of July. So many firsts. And some lasts, too.
The clincher took me by surprise. Jeff left keys and manuals and codes and climbed into the Uhaul and as the garage door clambered down behind me, the old familiar groan of it quick-stole my breath away. So everyday a sound. For so many years it indicated coming home and in that flash of an instant I couldn’t breathe because I knew I’d never hear it again. Strange, the things that do it to us.
And so here we are, now, living temporary lives in this house just shy of home.
It’s right around the corner from a high school. We had the windows open; there came cheers and the fight song and game announcements drifting over from under the Friday night lights.
On weekend mornings Jeff and I sneak out early to cut across the back way and walk laps on the track. It only took us one try to find a new walking route.
Jayce knows so many kids on this street. The bounce of their basketballs coming up the walk precedes the doorbell when they come to call.
We sold off beds and so we sleep on floor-parked mattresses. Our half-hearted efforts to make them show in the crooked wrinkle of sheets and fleece.
We came from a house with drawers but this one has none and so our grooming tools are cordoned off in plastic shoeboxes stacked on the back of the toilets. We’ve got the order of things down so well that Jeff noticed yesterday when I changed the stacking order. I was going out and I needed my makeup.
Going from six bathroom sinks to two was an adjustment. But we’ve fallen into an unspoken schedule for morning and nighttime hygiene.
The hardest part is the absence of home. Not home as in a building but home as in a state of being.
When first Huntsville was put on the table I was admittedly underwhelmed. But then we went to visit and look around and sometime during that trip I knew. There came a swift shift and I just knew. I would never have guessed it–never have wished it–but I knew. Not long after that I flew somewhere for a quick trip and when my plane landed back in Tucson the strangest thing happened. I remember looking out the little window of the plane as it touched down and hearing my own voice inside my head wishing to go home. Home to a place I barely even knew.
The boxes safely store our things and my people are accounted for. We live for four’ish more months here in the desert but already I’ve moved. Up and on to that which comes next. We learn as we go. We live and we do and we find ways to best spend–not just pass–these numbered days.