“Home. Let me come home. Home is wherever I’m with you. Our home. Yes, I am home. Home is when I’m alone with you.”
— Edward Sharp and the Electric Zeros
Home doesn’t feel like home. Yet. I suppose it will, eventually.
We are mostly out of boxes, although we have yet to hang pictures. I stuck up all our funky magnets on the fridge, along with the same photos and handcrafted Mother’s Day items that were on the fridge in the old apartment.
None of us are sleeping very well. Yet. I suppose we will, eventually. At least our beds are the same, familiar in their lumps and creaks.
My husband and I are tired, grumpy, and sore from days of endlessly shuttling boxes from one place to another. And we are not even close to finished. We still have a basement full of crap at the old apartment.
The old apartment, which is cavernous and quiet in its emptiness. The old apartment which looks out on the bay.
My husband is proving to be a very capable home owner. He has always been crafty and good at figuring out and fixing things, and he has settled right into the role of handy man of the house. I remember when I watched him as a father for the first time, and fell in love watching this man who I had known for so long, but had not known he had such a amazing skill set at nurturing. I sort of fell in love with him all over again, as I am now, watching him care for our new home with a tender responsibility.
This is supposed to be a positive change for us. In some ways, I feel it. I liked making a stir fry in my new kitchen with is about twice as large as what I had in the old apartment. In some ways, it is nice to have more space, for my husband and me to have our own nooks, for the children to have their own rooms, for the crib to be out from our bedroom. But in other ways, having this much space around us is foreign and uncomfortable. We keep reaching out for one another in weird, clingy ways.
Emily keeps saying she is scared. She is definitely taking it the hardest, her three year old brain not sure what to do with all the change. It is hard to watch how worried and sulky she seems about every little thing. She is easily startled by the new noises in the house, and says she feels scared in her room.
I am so proud of how both kids have been going to bed in their own rooms like champs. But in the middle of the night, Emily creeps up the stairs to our gigantic attic room and climbs into bed between us.
Jack has been handling things pretty well, which is a surprise to us, since he is usually the most sensitive soul in our little pod. He’s had a few moments when he has gotten rowdy, and he and his sister have been bickering and brawling a bit more, but that has been more Emily instigating with Jack.
While I know their behavior is a part of their right of passage in this huge transition, and a natural reaction the the enormous disruption, it is still hard for me to handle. Part of me feels sad and sensitive to their plight. The other side of me just wants them to fricking mind their fricking manners for five fricking minutes so I can make a phone call or unpack one more fricking box.
The first night in our new house, after our big moving day, I cried all night. Emily was disoriented and got into her own bed without even asking to nurse. Since I am in the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” stage of weaning her, I didn’t bring it up, but sat silently sobbing in the chair near her bed as she fell asleep. I missed having her little body sleeping in the crib next to my side of the bed.
My husband hugged me and asked me why I was crying.
“I want to go home,” I cried.
“But I thought this is what you wanted? To have our own house?”
In my exhaustion, I didn’t really know what I wanted. I feared I had gotten it all wrong, that all those times I was frustrated and angry about being so cramped and cluttered in our old apartment I should have really been more mindful and tranquil. Why do I always get everything wrong?
I’ve been comforting myself by telling myself, “Clinging causes suffering.” It is one of the principals of Buddhist way of thinking. This move has really brought to light for me what the expression means. For me, it is another way of saying, “It is okay to let go and see what happens.”
It feels oddly reassuring and liberating.
It was also very helpful when going through the old apartment and thinking what to keep and what to throw away or donate. I admit, there was a real pinch in my heart when I placed the bassinet on the curb at Goodwill. It was a place where my babies had slept as newborns, and it held some memories. But it was just going to take up space, and I didn’t need to keep the basinet to keep my memories of my babies. The pinch in my heart was the suffering caused by clinging to something. It felt okay to let it go.
Letting go of the old apartment has not proved so easy. It was a really safe place for us. To be honest, I share a lot of Emily’s fears of our new house, but for different reasons. I’m terribly afraid the mortgage will prove too daunting. I’m afraid there won’t be enough money to fix things. I’m afraid the plumbing situation will never get sorted out. I’m afraid the neighbors won’t accept me. I’m afraid my kids will not adjust. The list goes on.
We’ve only been here four nights. I’m sure it will take some time for us to grow into this place, like the moss that has grown into the cracks in our new driveway.
And then home will feel just like home.