Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Simple pleasures

I'm sitting at Jenn's house borrowing David's laptop while the girls are watching Sesame Street. It's hard to believe that Bob and Gordon and Maria are all ready for AARP membership. I see that the past thirty years have taken their toll on the original cast but heck I'm older and a bit longer in the tooth too (if you count crowns). What a joy to have Hannah and Sophie propped on either side and watching a show that I watched with Jenn on my lap so long ago. Score one for the home team.

It's a good morning. I managed to step into the shower last night and wash the grime away. It was not just physical but also a psychological need for cleansing - washing away the mental dirt the movers left in their wake. I slept at the kids' last night as my bedroom is still not set up. In fact, it's in quite a chaotic state. David and I wanted these guys to unload my stuff as quickly as possible and get the heck out that horrid night. So the bed frame and hardware are lying on the floor next to the propped mattress and box springs keeping the strewn dresser drawers company. The drawers are a mess as most of the brackets have detached and need tending. A lot needs tending. But a lot got done yesterday.

I had to force myself to go back into the house. Strangest thing. I felt that these jerks had contaminated my new home.

Solution: see the place through a fresh innocence. I took Sophie for the afternoon and we explored the whacky world of Babci's boxes and furniture. When you're five years old, every stack of boxes is a castle tower and every room contains hiding places. We played hide and seek. She was easy to find by the giggles emanating from behind the mattress or the closet.

A real moving company would have carefully brought in each box and paid attention to the directions of where to go. Instead, I have a dining room almost filled to ceiling with most of my boxes. Luckily, one of the first I opened, after Sophie and I had our lemonade on my private porch and discussed how to arrange my future garden, was a box containing a bag of plastic horses and figures that Sophie's mom played with as a kid. Sophie took each out and was enthralled. She hugged the golden palomino and named her "Bella". I explained that the name meant beautiful. The moment was beautiful. Sophie was spreading her fairy dust throughout the house. Her giggles and delight and sweet, sweet voice started to lift my spirit and dispel the bad air left by the movers.

How do you move into a place quickly? I can't and for now I decided to create two small oases of comfort: my living room couches and the back porch. Jenn, bless her, found a delightful little vintage bistro set for the back porch along with new plants including a "hardy Mum". Appropriate, eh?

My eyes were still bloodshot but this hardy mum was digging her way through the boxes unearthing lots of treasures for Sophie. Next I found some old photos of my mother as a child of nine or ten, dressed in her first communion dress, long dark hair framing her pretty face. I showed Sophie the picture and we both agreed that she does look like Nanny Mary. Then I showed her Mary's mother and told her that this woman was her great-great-grandmother and that this was my Babci. I also told her that this lady had been orphaned when she was little, had older sisters to take care of her, and that she and my mom were so poor that they would play with dolls made out of rags and remnants.

Sophie took this all in and then we decided that each time we use something special from the past, we will try to remember the person who first had it. Sophie wants to be a veterinarian and a dressmaker when she grows up. So I opened an old box marked "Mom's sewing stuff" and there we were amidst my mom's past: her needles, threads and thimbles. I told Sophie that we could use Nanny's threads to sew new clothes for her dolls and we looked at all the lovely colors. One particular spool of blue caught my eye and I instantly saw my Mom in the dress which matched this thread. She came so alive to me in that moment.

I continued to open and move things around through the rest of the afternoon while Sophie contentedly played with her mom's horses and then fell asleep under my mom's crocheted afghan, snuggled on my sofa. What a picture. What a beautiful memory.

Welcome home.


bee said...

Ah, Mater, you made it! Good job. Now as to how one moves into a new place? Don't do it "all at once" but rather, let it unfold as you go. It all works out. That was a great idea, taking Sophie with you!

sogalitno said...

tears are in my eyes
you are well on your way to recovering... good for you!

i moved into an apt that had previously been occupied by a very sad sack and to dispell the bad spirits, i painted every surface and spent the fall and winter organizing, building shelves and redoing closets and making every inch my new home.

hattie and sophie will continue to spread their charm and innocence and help you create your new home!

here's to a great journey!

Mother of Chaos said...

Mater...I am speechless with admiration. What a quick bounce-backer you are! Kids are great for putting the giggle back in life, but gee whiz - I'd still be grousing and whining and kicking puppies. :)

I'm so sorry your movers were jerks (a pox upon them!), but you really are proving the stronger human.

Mills said...

So happy for you. You made it despite the those miserable gits. And now to start fresh. Take your time unpacking and begin to enjoy your new surroundings. There's no hurry......enjoy enjoy enjoy.

s@bd said...

oh beautiful

velocibadgergirl said...

Goodness,'ve once again given me happy goosebumps all over. You write beautifully!

Good luck with the rest of your unpacking and rediscovering!

Simon said...

Children do have a habit of beautifying a space, don't they?

(Well, let's just pretend they don't soil themselves at all and never stray from the ideal of Cherubic innocence and good behaviour... and we can think of them as cleansing agents for a moment.)

kirsty said...

You precious, precious lady! Mater, you have your spirit and values right where it they be. Your new home will indeed be a happy one and, for Sophie, it will be a magical one, too.

moxiemomma said...

welcome home indeed :)

that was a stroke of pure brilliance taking sophie home with you to unpack!


lisa s said...

love this ....just love it. Aren't grandchildren the best thing in the world?

pogonip said...

You brought me to tears (of happiness!!) reading about your wonderful day together. Blessings on you and your new home!

Ellen, John & Sophia said...

What a gorgeous post- sophie is so lucky to have you. Your inherited things and old toys remind me of why I miss my grandmother so much. I'm so glad I found your blog!

twookapismom said...

Oh my! What a terrible experience moving can be. I am glad you made it. I love your writing. Our okapis have two wonderful grandmothers and I truly felt how pure that love is by reading your blog. Thanks for that. Hang in there and keep feeling those beautiful moments-- isn't that what life is all about?

Terry said...

I'm so sorry your move was a bad experience. I may have missed something--what exactly went wrong? Are you, God forbid, missing your belongings?

How wonderful to have your daughter and grandchildren nearby.

Wishes for only good things from now on in your new home.

kris said...

Boy, can I see where Jenn gets her talent for the written word.

Congratulations on the new digs. I feel you are just so brave for having the guts to move and I'm very glad to see that the grime of that move is starting to wash away.

Here's hoping that the lovely memories to come will out-shine the bad ones by a mile.

Lou said...

I have to move in quickly each time I move. I know many people putz around with it- but I find that it is best if I devote 3 or 4 solid days to straight unpacking and then make it a goal to have pictures on the wall and knicknacks up by the one week anniversary.

It is tiring, but I always feel like life can go on after that. If I leave things packed up I always feel like stuff is hanging over my head and I'm never totally happy with what i'm doing.

Just take it one room at a time. If you give each room 3 or 4 hours- you will be amazed at how fast everything can go.

One word of caution- if you are anything like me, make sure you put stuff in a goodplace to start with - or it will be there until you move again lol!

I love your old stuff stories :-) What a delight to share this history with your grandchildren!

Samantha said...

Mater I just want you to know that you are in my prayers right now. How awesome that you're finally there!

I have a few tips about unpacking for you:

1) If your Bathroom and kitchen are ready then you feel like you've done something huge and it takes very little time to set these rooms up (unless your me and you re arange the dishes until their just right).

2) Take everything out of a box--throw box away or break it down--you become forced to find a place for everything.

3) Take your time but not too much time. If you still have boxes around after three weeks find a closet for them (I know it's cheating but if you're not in need of what's in the box you might as well leave it there so when you move again--if you move again it's ready to go.)

4) put up pictures and whatnot whenever you can--it makes the place feel more like home than anything else.

Love ya and hope these things help!