I used to say that the only thing worse than moving is a root canal. Then I realized that they give you medication for a root canal. Moving is definitely worse. In approximately 17 years I moved seven times; five of those moves were cross country, and three were done with small children in tow.
Moving isn't fun, and I hope to never do it again. Yet, I remember when moving was pretty exciting. Back in college, moving simply entailed putting the bricks and boards in the trunk, the plants in the front seat, the cat on the back ledge, and everything else I owned in the rest of the car. And it was a small car. Those moves weren't so bad, actually. I usually had friends to help, and all it cost me was a pizza. It was fun. It was a new adventure, redefining my spaces simply by changing location. I tried to match the kind of person I was to the space, yet I wasn't done becoming myself, so instead, I took each new living space and tried to imagine what kind of person lived there. Big living room: will I do a lot of entertaining? Will that little alcove be a space all to myself for reading deep and profound books? Did the tiny kitchen mean I didn't have to cook much?
Then, moving got complicated. It wasn't just me or even just me and a roommate. Suddenly, moving a family meant finding new doctors and new school directors and meeting a whole new group of parents. It was being the new kid in school all over again, and all the baggage that entailed…and I mean that literally and figuratively. Suddenly I was buying furniture with an eye towards how it would weather another move, and how it might fit into a house that I hadn't even bought yet, in a town I may not even move to. On average, it took 2-3 years before I could run into people I knew in the grocery store and feel comfortable giving directions to others. I lived the same 2-3 years over and over again.
I enjoyed moving my kids into their dorm rooms. It was crazy and chaotic. We met roommates and neighbors. We met parents and went out for pizza. This week is odd. One child is moving into a new apartment I haven't helped pick out, with roommates I haven't met, in a city too far away for me to help. The other child is also moving into an apartment that I didn't help pick out, and with roommates I haven't met either, but I'll be driving a truck to move her stuff from Apartment A to Apartment B. That truck will be filled with more stuff than I ever had in my first apartment. I'll have loaded, unloaded, hauled and carried, and will of course, have bought pizza. Even though this daughter still has a year to go to finish school, this is clearly no dorm room move.
It seems I've crossed a threshold, literally and figuratively. I'm helping to set up my daughters' homes, not just their dorm rooms, to their very clear specifications. I'm just the spectator. What happens in those homes is both affected by and impacting on who they are becoming as adults. They're trying on décor like they're trying on new clothes - seeing what fits.
So, I hope they find their new neighbors friendly and helpful. I hope they get to know their mail carrier, and carry on conversations with them. I hope their roommates introduce them to new people. I hope they find the perfect lamp somewhere that will weather several moves, and I hope they give relaxing sighs when they sink into that second-hand couch or crawl into bed, knowing their new home is the one they've built themselves.
Blessed are You oh God, Ruler of the World, for granting us life, sustaining us, and bringing us to this day. And may the traffic be smooth, the loading be uneventful, and the glasses arrive safely for all.