As you can well imagine, the emotions that I am assigning to this impending move of ours range from Excited like a Tween Before Her First Junior High Dance –> to –> Paralyzed with Fear like a Tween Just Tapped by a Clammy-Handed Boy at the First Junior High Dance.
The place that I seem to keep hovering is a place of fruitless agitation. Intuitively I know everything is good, everything will be well, but I find myself agitated about not getting anything done, not achieving anything purposeful toward the move, and, huffff, this is of course neh-heh-HEVER my fault, it’s just that if everyone would just stop pestering me with the need for critical information that only I can provide for our federal tax return, or if they would stop sitting right next to me silently pawing through whole jars of VIX Vap-o-Rub and spreading it all over their faces like it’s a mud mask, this mama could get a move-on in deciding whether we are going to need two travel size packs of Prell 2-in-1 shampoo conditioner or can we do with only one? PRIORITIES. I haz them.
I know there are a lot of object lessons to learn with this move, and I feel the Lord pressing upon my heart this awareness that I need to enjoy this fleeting time with my family before I start working full-time, because –and this is where it gets a little spooky–this could be, like, the LAST time I ever work only part-time. Like, ’til I die!
But that’s all lofty talk. More pointedly, I’ve often been likening this move to writing the 5 paragraph essay. I’ve taught English Composition I quite a few times now. I feel I am close(r) to mastering it. I’ve learned how to time my lessons, how not to put the proverbial cart before the carriage when it comes to preparing my students with the tools they need to write the hook, the intro paragraph, the thesis, the body paragraphs, the conclusion OMG AM I BRINGING YOU BACK OR AM I BRINGING YOU BACK?
The mark of the first round of essays that always come back to me is: clutter. Heaptitudes of clutter. I always work hard with my students to declutter their essays. I say, your main idea is getting swallowed by all this tangential talk, by all of these cliches and global statements. Get to the point.
I find this is true of our move. What is the point here? The point is to get our lives boxed in the next few months, to rent out our place, to make this experience as smooth as possible, such that when we rip all of our limbs off, there won’t be any sloppy nerves still hanging out of their sockets, you know?
The process of decluttering my own singular life is not so taxing as that of a whole family and although it gives me perverse pleasure to spend hours liquidating closets, I really think that maybe I am missing the point.
The point is not just to purge the excess, to stack neatly and ready for take-off the necessary. It is to reflect on the life that we have built here as a family. It is to remember the second floor ovens we once lived in, the frat boy beds we saw delivered from 1-800-MATTRESS, which we broke in and outgrew. It is to take stock of the dishes we have still in tact versus the ones we have broken. The tiny bedroom where we thought we would store our skis and instead, we saw a plus sign on a stick and learned it would store a crib.
There are cracks in our windows and superhero stickers on our built-ins and I know the exact spot in the floor of the hallway where it creaks and I don’t want to change any of it, to make tidy that which is a testament to a life that we lived between walls where we tripped and hugged and danced and learned to be a family.
But beyond all this clutter, I think the point is that we’ll still be a family in that new place. Isn’t it amazing that the four most important things we’ll be moving don’t need a box?