It turns out that, if my Blogger stats are correct, this is my 500th blog post on this site. So, happy 500th post to us all, and thanks for reading my blog!
These days we are in transition, which I feel like I write about a lot. Probably because we do a lot of transition, and because we've been going through more than usual lately--this is move #3 in 3 years. I haven't figured out yet if I'm learning new things each time we move, or if I'm re-learning the same things and due to my mom-brain it's all just shiny and new to me each time.
At this moment we are in the extended-stay hotel until we leave for a vacation in Key West. We are (varying degrees of) beach people, so we are all very much looking forward to it. I'm pretty sure this will be the farthest south I've ever been, and even though I'm not a drinker, I'm seriously considering a mai-tai or some other adult umbrella drink to mark the occasion. After vacation we will make our way north, arriving in the wonderful Boston area during the warmest time of year, which I think is quite valuable for feeding my continuing denial of the severity of winters to come.
If there's an upside to all this moving and transition, it is that we are veritable experts at the logistics of moving and transition. We can work around moving ourselves or being moved by a company. We can plan for long-term displacement or a door-to-door excursion. With or without kids and/or pets. Seriously, I could have a reality show on HGTV where I help people organize themselves for moving, because each time I have moved I have learned something new to make it go a little smoother the next time.
The "internal" aspects of moving are a little more complex, I think. Because it is familiar, this part does go more smoothly for me these days, but I haven't yet found a way to both do it well and make it painless. In fact as you would probably guess, it seems to me part of doing transition well is letting it be painful, and feeling the feels, and all that. Sometimes I get caught off-guard though, and I get surprised by what stings.
The other day we were checking out of our house, and I took a moment for some mental snapshots. I remembered how empty it felt when we first moved in and how, after a year of placing and arranging, and filling it with the things of our lives (and vacuuming the ever-loving granola crumbs again and again), it was again packed up and emptied, looking identical to the first time we saw it.
I think it's one of the great paradoxes of life, about opening up and risking to love something/someone, but still holding it "loosely," as they say. I don't know what it was about that house--perhaps the layout and other particulars, which I was particularly fond of--but I loved it right away, and it felt very home-ish to me almost immediately. I remember consciously allowing myself to enjoy it fully for the time we had it, even knowing it was a rental, and a short term one at that.
Still, I was surprised by how sad I felt to leave a house of under 11 months. I thought back to all our previous houses and places, and what was hard (or maybe not so much) about leaving each of them, and I decided it is hard for me to leave what the house represents. Memories, yes. A wonderful "summer camp" year of whirlwind friendships and seizing the days, and making the most of things, yes. But somehow it's even bigger than that.
I love the scene in Castaway where Wilson the volleyball floats away, and Tom Hanks just cannot rescue him without compromising his own safety and hopes of rescue, and he is undone with grief as he lets Wilson go. That scene stuck with me more than any other. That silly volleyball represented so much more than a toy or keepsake, or even a conversation partner. It was the last remainder of his life on the island, and stood for everything he had to let go of in order to risk being rescued.
So I think for me, this particular house represented the whole of my experience here in Montgomery. I am so excited to be back in Massachusetts, and I know I have a lot to look forward to, but the first part of getting there is setting free the things that keep me here. And risking a few tears in order to tell people what they've meant to me.
Believe me when I say, if you haven't weighed this choice before, that it is worth the tears. It is worth feeling a little bit silly as you try to find the words to say, and it is worth the pang in the gut to leave well.
It is also worth noting that now, a couple days after the fact, I don't feel weepy about my house anymore. Friends of ours are moving into it, so I know it's in good hands, and I like feeling good about the fate of my inanimate objects.
I have a couple weeks of (people) goodbyes left though, so please pardon me if I get a bit of a faraway look in my eye. And maybe slip me a little chocolate...