Sunday, August 21, 2016

Leaving Marks and Making Memories


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 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 arrange bedrooms for flow and optimal play space. I got to hang up Jae Beth's little dresses and sweaters and tutus in her closet. I made 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, 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. 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. The place they were renting still needs holes patched, groceries transferred and a final cleaning. Moving day is an event suited to the strength and energy of the young, yet it requires the patience of someone too old to actually move much of anything. I guess in that way we had the perfect scenario.

In the midst of moving, JaeBeth pulled one of her front teeth, found a prescription bottle to keep it safe all day, and made plans for putting it under her pillow. I love that the tooth fairy will come her very first night in their house. (She tells me the going rate is one dollar. I think I used to get a quarter.)

Our DIL showed me where the movers nicked a spot in their beautiful new wood floors, right in front of the door into the office. It'll have to be touched up, but I tended to think that it was the first of many scratches and such, because life leaves marks. As it should. Might as well go ahead and get one from the movers, so it's not so awful when more appear.

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 drive home, I spent the entire hour thinking about what a grand journey each of our lives are. Today that little family will wake up for the very first time in their brand new house. They'll figure out 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 for supper 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 (brown with horses on it I'm told), grab her little backpack, lunchbox and all the bravery she can muster to walk into the classroom. And so it goes.

What a privilege life is! At best we're given 100 years, and most of us don't get that. Even if we do live that long, it likely includes a lot of aches and pains to make it that far. It takes us a good thirty or so years to 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 goes so quickly. Before they know it, our kids will be sending JaeBeth to second grade, and Daniel off to kindergarten. From there on, with no looking back, for most of the day, for most of the week, the kids will be in school all day and no longer underfoot.

We'll go see them all one more time, later this week. We'll bring a meal, go see the progress they've made, hear the plans they've come up with so far, then we'll hug them all goodbye. We move ourselves five days from now, all of our stuff to storage for at least six months, except what we're cramming into the minivan and taking up north. This weekend we'll gather Miss Lily from the kennel where she'll have been kept during our moving day, CS will point the van north and off we'll go, with stops along the way to see family and friends before we pull into Idaho around Labor Day. Ten days of the last of summer, in a car with a dog, listening to audio books, talking about life and plans we have and such, before we pull into our place up north. Ready to start making memories and leaving marks with our PNW family. And so it goes. 

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