May 29, 2012


I think the process of moving, if you were to plot it on a graph, would be as spiky up and down as the heart monitor of a tachycardia patient. You have the task of looking for a new home, which is full of peaks and valleys as you search for the right place for your family, find it, fall in love with it, and then find out it's off the market or has been whisked away for some reason or another. There's a big spike up when you finally find the right place and get it. Then you ride that wave for a couple of days, a week, as you plan out all the fabulous summer barbecues, the birthday parties, the cozy winter nights by the fire. (Your "Pin it" button gets a lot of use in these times.)

But then you start the process of packing, of actually dismantling your life in the place you're leaving, and slide down into a kind of valley. Not only because packing in itself sucks major ass, brings about the desultory realization that you have accumulated SO MUCH CRAP you don't need, but because you start to realize that despite the crappy neighbor, the lack of yard, the lack of are going to miss this place, the place you have lived, the place you live now.

I will never forget the day, four years ago, that James and I visited our condo for the first time with our realtor. It was a sunny day, light streaming into the windows, and I walked around the living area, imaging our furniture in it.  I closed my eyes, and placed the couch along the long wall in the back, really seeing it. It was a perfect fit. I thought, someday I'll bring my newborn baby home from the hospital and sit with her on that couch, right here in this room. 

And it happened just like I thought it would. 

There are so many memories I will have of our first home together. Soaking in the bathtub with my Federal Courts casebook propped on the edge, turning the pages with wrinkled fingertips. So many poker nights with friends, the slap and zip of cards being shuffled, laughter filling the air. Under one of the tiles on the kitchen floor, Baby Lulu's name is written in Sharpie, along with the names (and cartoon faces) of each of the cats; we wrote her name there the day we found out she was a girl and finally decided it for certain, which just happened to coincide with a frenzied, nesting-based kitchen remodel.

And then there's the first night we brought Lu home from the NICU, when J. and I lay in the bed with her, too amped and afraid to drift off to sleep. Her first Christmas, with the tree wedged in the corner. Her first birthday party, with zig-zag banners and overflow guests sitting cross-legged on our sisal rug. And all the little quiet moments in between.

My parents moved from my first home to the house I grew up in when I was four, and I remember it, vaguely, my old house, my birth house. Laying in a slant of light in the sunroom, sitting against the olive-green refrigerator in the kitchen. Lulu's too young to remember her first place. And that makes me sad. Because for all of its paint-peelingness, too-smalledness, was a good place for us. It deserves to be remembered. There's been a lot of happiness here.

We'll have to be sure to tell her all about it. So that we don't forget, ourselves.


  1. You can tell Lulu about the first place she lived so much that she'll feel like she really does remember it.

    It is weird, funny, interesting when leaving a place we really are ready to leave can bring all sorts of feelings up to the surface.

    Personally, I can't wait to read all the stories you'll have to share with us in the future about Lulu playing in her yard, her first Christmas in your new place, and all the other memories you'll create there.

  2. I had a surprisingly hard time leaving the house in PA where Joy was born. Harder than I thought I would. By the time we moved from the house where Grace was born, though, I had no nostalgia at all. Either we were just way more miserable there than in PA (strong possibility), or else I'm getting used to the fact that my two are going to have hazy memories of all their early homes. As I keep reminding Joy every time she gets nervous about us moving again, the important thing is that we are a family, and that we are together, and that won't change no matter where we are. But yes, it can be a wrench to leave the place where all those "firsts" happened.