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.