“You wrote down all of these things to say goodbye to, but so many of them are good things. Why not just say goodbye to the bad things? Say goodbye to all the times you felt lost, to all the times it was a no instead of a yes, to all the scrapes and bruises, to all the heartache, say goodbye to all that you really want to do for the last time. The good things will always be there waiting for you.”
– Lily to Ted on How I Met Your Mother
We moved out on a Thursday. I decided it would be best for me not to go to the closing for the house the next morning, I had said my goodbyes to the house when I locked the front door that Thursday night and drove away towards my life’s new chapter. Granted my new chapter began in an apartment down the street sitting in complete disarray, boxes everywhere, tall heavy furniture needing to be anchored to the freshly painted walls I wasn’t supposed to put holes in, and a few bed frames that needed reassembling. But with the help of very little sleep, lots of coffee and my family and friends, I managed to get it all set up, furniture anchored with a few extra holes in the walls from trying to find the studs with a crappy stud finder, and everything put away within 48 hours.
stealing mommy’s bed
My biggest concern was of course Summer. Would she be confused? Would she be sad? How soon would it be before she said, “mommy, I want to go home”? But my baby, oh she’s a resilient one, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I let her loose in the new place where she proceeded to run around like a nut, loving her new room covered in colorful paper butterflies I had originally made for the basement in the house, seeing all her toys in the living room, and pushing her baby in the little plastic pink stroller in circles through the kitchen. She’s a trooper.
At this point Scott and my biggest challenge is trying to help her grasp that she now has 2 houses – Mommy and Summer’s house, and Daddy and Summer’s house. Her response to both of us is “this is not my house, this is Mommy’s house” or “this is not Summer’s house, this is Daddy’s house”. We’re still working on it. She’ll get it.
In the last month, we’ve turned this place, Mommy and Summer’s house, into our new home. We’ve had hours and hours of dancing in the kitchen, we’ve taken lots of baths that last the better part of an hour when she just wants to splash and swim like a fishy “just once more and once and once and once”, we’ve enjoyed the fact that we each have our own bathroom and little missy has taken full advantage of her step and potty seat on the big potty now that she’s completely potty trained, we’ve painted each other’s fingers and toadies, we’ve decorated Christmas cookies and made yummy dinners and eaten our weight in candy canes, we’ve discovered the playground here, we’ve built a snowman complete with a carrot nose and cap’n crunch berries for eyes, we’ve raced through the grocery store on our weekly trips with her pushing the cart as fast as she can, me secretly steering above her head to avoid innocent shoppers unaware of the out of control cart barreling up behind them, we have our daily routine down pat where we get home from daycare, put on our slippers and do a goofy walk, flailing our feet out to the sides all the way down the hall to the garbage room, she has her little garbage bag in hand and I have mine, and we throw them in the dumpster simultaneously with a loud “YEAH!” like we just scored the winning touchdown. We check the mail together and she pulls the mail out of the mailbox for me then proceeds to open it all up to see what’s inside, and then we shimmy all the way back. She already knows which apartment door is ours down the long plain hallway lined with doors that are identical to ours. She hasn’t yet grasped the concept that, unlike in the house, other people live in this building, too – she whispers, “oooo mommy, I hear the bear,” when the little girl above us runs back and forth, and when we pulled in the parking lot the other night and she saw someone walking around in their living room a few units over from us she pointed and asked, “mommy, who is in our house?” Yes, little one, apartment living is a whole new world.
she’s a pro
The hardest part so far for me has been the days and nights Summer isn’t here with me. During those times when the new home is so quiet and still, when my funny, happy, energetic goof ball isn’t here filling the rooms with laughter and squeals and endless conversations about silly stuff or things that happened weeks ago that she remembers like it was minutes ago, I’ve been keeping myself busy by rediscovering my things, the things that filled me up, the things I used to love to do so much and slowly gave up on for reasons the world doesn’t need to know – I bought myself a new book on my first grocery shopping trip for the apartment and the story instantly absorbed me as soon as I finished page 1. I started writing again and it feels goooood, like a nice deep content sigh pouring out of my brain to my fingertips to my keyboard and onto my computer screen. I even dusted off the sewing machine, bought a new needle to replace the one I broke a year ago, and I picked up the scraps of quilt I was so excited to start so long ago. 2 weekends ago, that quilt tripled in size as I sewed at the dining room table with fervor until after midnight, remembering how much I love creating something beautiful out of scraps of fabric and a thread. This weekend, it will triple again. It’s like silent therapy.
Over the last month I’ve learned how to bring in 30 bags of groceries through 3 inches of snow with a backpack on one shoulder, a purse on the other and a chilly 2-year-old in tow who wants to take off her hat and mittens in the -10 degree wind-chill. I’m slowly getting used to walking the doggies on leashes again, though I’m sure that will be much easier in the Spring once it warms up again. We are learning how to get up, get fed, dressed, packed for daycare and out the door for me to start work on time. Scott and I are learning to be friends and parents without being together, facetiming with the little one and texting stories about the incredible or goofy things she does when the other is not there to see it. We’re all still in transition and probably will be for a while, learning how to do everything differently from how we’ve done it up until now.
a snowman named Santa Claus
I’ve learned there are 2 ways to approach it all – I can focus on the bad, the sad, the disruption from the end of dreams once dreamt, or instead I can focus on the good, the newness of the next chapter, the rediscovery of the little things that bring me peace. I’m learning that there are times to let life happen, and the times to make life happen and knowing when to do what can completely change your life.