Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Beginnings

Moving has to be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. When I first moved to Colorado I had three suitcases and that was all. I slept on an air mattress in a two bedroom apartment I shared with three other girls with sheets from Wal-Mart. Almost ten years later I’ve moved nine times and accumulated a husband, daughter, dog and cat along with various other material possessions. I hate moving with a passion because it involves asking others for help and I’m always embarrassed having someone else see how much I have. In February we sold our home and moved into a rental and I’m happy to report after 7 offers, hundreds of houses seen and a few tears we closed and moved on to our newest endeavor. We hired movers, we threw away what didn’t serve us and we said good-bye to city living to head back to the suburbs. I’ve finally emerged from the endless tedious task of unpacking, painting and decorating to finally sit and enjoy our new home.

Moving with a child is an experience like no other. Not only do you have another person’s stuff to move and sort through but you also have someone who’s constantly in your way needing attention. This house we bought wasn’t like our previous “turn-key” purchase so we needed to do work on it before we moved in. Painting, flooring, carpeting – all these tasks we hired professionals to take care of but other projects we tackled ourselves. The house was not up to code and working in a construction zone with a toddler is a less than ideal way to spend a Saturday. There were many moments where I’d play entertainer while my husband endeavored to make the house safe. We painted and got paint on all of us in the process (even the dog). We ate apples from the apple tree in the back yard. We winced every time Charlotte got too near the stairs begging her not to fall down them and we took turns playing referee while moving – intercepting Charlotte when she got near the road. She slept in a pack in play in the kitchen while we painted upstairs and we all had a few nights in the basement freezing with open windows willing the polyurethane on the floors upstairs to dry faster. This move and renovation has been both chaotic and a test of our strength and love as a family. To commit to buy a house with someone is one choice…to trust them taking down dry wall is a leap of faith. Picking out paint, questioning each other’s abilities as do-it-yourselfers and working hard so you don’t go in debt too much for it all…well that’s the stuff that can pave the road to divorce.

Through it all though my main concern was my daughter. I worried for her because we weren’t devoting the time to her that we normally would. Naps were interrupted for trips to the hardware store and the pack and play was used on more than one occasion to contain her while we worked. At 18 months I know she won’t remember this time in her life but its heart breaking to have someone want you to hold them when you can’t at the moment. I felt I was making a wonderful home but at the expense of being a lousy mother and that didn’t sit well with me. It was bad enough we didn’t even have a microwave to warm her milk in the morning or a stove to cook her eggs…she didn’t need to miss out on being hugged and loved too.

I was reminded by someone, in my anguish about this conundrum, that what I’m doing now IS important. I’m making my daughter a home, a safe place she can grow up in where she’ll have wonderful memories. The house she was brought home from the hospital too will never be on her horizon and she’ll only see pictures of herself celebrating her first birthday in the rental but this, this house will be her home for (hopefully) most of her life. She will have birthday’s here and celebrate Christmas, bring friends over and spend summers laying on our deck. When I was little I can remember moving exactly once (although I know it was actually twice) and I hope that’s the same for my daughter. She will have plenty of time in her adult life to pack and unpack, throw away and acquire and deal with landlords and roommates but for now she can be comfortable in one spot.

In life I realize there are many events that occur that steal our time. Perhaps it’s a new job, a new love, a training or move. These life changing events may give us a chance to begin again or venture down a new path but the consequence is we don’t always have time for everything else in life we enjoy or love. What I find myself trying to remind my husband (and me) is that it isn’t forever. This stage, this growth, this moving forward and on – it isn’t forever. In the grand scheme of life this move is a tiny pin dot on my life map. Charlotte won’t remember and in a few years neither will I. You never do remember the moment’s in-between, the hard stuff, the uphill climb, the constant hitting of the pavement. You remember the view from the finish line, the summit of the mountain, the ease at which life is after. Tornados will come into your life and they will rock your world and leave a mess in its wake but you’ll pick up what you want and move forward. I won’t say enjoy the ride because sometimes you won’t. Sometimes it will be that roller coaster that you keep your eyes closed on the whole time until it’s over because you can’t stand where you are. And that’s OK my friends. Because at some point you’ll open your eyes and begin again.

Here’s to new beginnings.

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