Sunday, August 21, 2016

Driving Home

We helped our kids move into their new home yesterday. Brand spanking new, with spotless carpet and unused appliances and bathrooms as clean as they'll ever be, and not a single memory made inside its walls.

All that changed yesterday as we pulled up, behind the two moving vans. Rain, mud, little kids excited and underfoot. Tired, stressed parents, a cable guy trying to get the internet and TV hooked up. As we put down plastic and blankets for the movers to begin moving furniture in, I watched beds being put up in rooms, items were carried to the back patio, and the garage began to fill up with all the stuff of life that nobody had a clue where it should go.

My jobs were easy. Keep the movers hydrated, keep our DIL encouraged, be another set of hands for Cub Sweetheart as he installed ceiling fans, put together beds, etc. Make sure all bathrooms had toilet paper -  moving day necessity! I helped decide how bedrooms should be arranged for flow and optimal play space. I got to hang up Jae Beth's little dresses and sweaters and tutus in her closet. I got to make the bed for our son's mother-in-love, so it would be ready for her when she walked in the door. She had the hardest job of the day - keeping the Littles busy and out of everyone's way as much as possible.

When it was all done, when everything was at least under cover, we all plopped into whatever chair we could find, and talked about how it would all be fine in a few weeks, and even better within a few days time. By Christmas things would be drastically more settled. Right now the dryer has the wrong plug on it, and needs a new hose. They don't have a refrigerator yet. And the old place they were renting still needs holes patched, groceries transferred and a final cleaning. Moving day is an event suited to the young, yet it requires the patience of someone too old to actually move anything.

We spent a last few minutes reassuring them that the mountain of boxes in the garage would eventually be sorted out. It would all be fine. They'd laugh about it all someday, and their new house is great - perfectly suited for them and just waiting for memories to be made.

As I made the hour long drive home, with worship music turned up shockingly loud because nobody else was in the car to ask me to turn it down, I drove by fields of freshly gathered hay, horses taking their last run for the night, a sunset that was gathering for a grand finale. That entire hour I spent just thinking about what a grand privilege each of our lives are. Today that little family will wake up for the very first time in their brand new house. They'll go somewhere to find breakfast, then they'll start in, sorting out the stuff of their lives. They'll decide how to arrange the living room, and make plans for this room and that. They'll figure out something for dinner and eventually they'll gather around the table off the kitchen. They'll sit on the patio and watch their kids play in their yard, or ride their bikes on their driveway. Tomorrow morning JaeBeth will put on her brand new, special 'first day of school' dress, gather her little backpack and lunchbox and walk into the classroom. And so it goes.

What a privilege life is! At best we're given 100 years, and most of us not that. And even if we do live that long, it likely doesn't feel that great to make it that far. And it takes us a good thirty or so to even figure out what we might want to do with this life we're given. Then another thirty to get it done, before we start trying to figure out the next chapter of being instead of doing. Day by day it slides by, often not feeling fast at all, but week by week and month by month and surely year by year it flies by. Before they know it, our kids will be sending JaeBeth to second grade, and Daniel off to kindergarten. For most of the day, for most of the week, the kids will be in school all day and no longer underfoot. 

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