Moving is cathartic—and chaotic—in equal measure. By the time we had to actually leave our house behind, nineteen years of our lives had been sorted and either boxed, sold, or booted. When we actually arrived on the West coast, we unpacked very little. Those boxes remained mostly closed until the time when we found a more permanent residence.
Once that happened, however, what we’d actually kept surfaced slowly. (Remember, chaotic? The Marie Kondo admonition to keep what brings joy? Nothing was bringing me anything toward the finale.) As I put things on shelves and in drawers and closets, I paused to ponder: Why did I choose this?
Not about my son’s first stuffed animal, though he never loved it as much as his dad and I did. We bought it shortly after we first moved to the Jersey Shore, pregnant and euphoric.
And my son’s first “big boy” sneakers? No surprise there, either. (Oh, what he’ll discard when we’re gone.)
Then I began to notice what was missing, two precious items in particular. I kept telling my husband that I knew I didn’t get rid of them. And he gently reminded me how I was using the “scorched earth” approach as the days dwindled on our deadline.
Hanukkah arrived and the menorah we’d had forever, an heirloom from my husband’s childhood, remained MIA. Yes, we had a backup, but it was NOT the menorah of our family celebrations.
The second item was a Lenox bowl given to me by a dear family at the end of a difficult year for their children; we had gotten through it together. No way had I carted that off in my daily loads to Goodwill. And yet…could I have?
A month ago, right before my son and his wife joined us here, my husband found two unopened boxes in the shed. They had been at the bottom of a stack, and we had assumed they were empty.
When I heard,”Trish, look what I found!” a shout from the shed, I popped up from my chair, fingers crossed. The prodigal precious items were there, and now here, where they belong. Home.