Sunday, August 8, 2010

If These Old Walls Could Speak...

Glory Hallelujah! The move is over and I am more bone achingly tired than I have ever been in my life. I have gone through three pregnancies, so I feel like I have a reasonable point of reference when I say that. I have also gone through plenty of moves (6 during my 8 year marriage) and I know I never want to go through one like this again. Although I have always been the packer behind all of our previous moves, this one involved confronting ghosts I had tried to banish and dealing with constant ambushes in the form of letters and pictures tucked here and there. It involved sifting through the ashes of the last 9 years and deciding what to keep, what was J's and most heartbreakingly, what to throw away. The basement alone took ten hours to go through (files and pictures and boxes of intermingled stuff that was "ours") Into the trash went anything that had J's handwriting on it. Love notes, regular notes and innocuous out of date work notes alike all got pitched. Silly pictures and letters he had sent me (that I forgot I had) from Mock Trial trips and the dating years all were read for the last time and put in the "do not keep" pile. Our wedding license jumped out at me as I sorted through the file box. I remembered holding hands as we went to the little county courthouse to apply for it, having to let go as we each signed it and a big hug and kiss when we got back to the car because we were really on our way. Rolls of pictures from our engagement photos had to be looked through. I kept a few and threw the rest away. My wedding dress still hung in the back of Sis's closet. Ouch. On and on it went for days as I learned to get more ruthless, especially with the things I had treasured about 'us.' I have a single box that now holds any memento of us or our wedding that I think the kids might care to see someday. I don't expect to look at the contents again for years, if ever. Everything else is now gone. For someone who keeps anything even vaguely sentimental, this hurt. I hoped it would also be cathartic. I haven't felt cleansed yet though. Losing those things felt like amputations. They were the emotional toes that helped me keep my balance. They were my treasures.

I had lots of offers of help, and I could have transferred everything into boxes and dealt with it later. But there are some jobs you just can't pass off and there is something to be said for just buckling down and doing what you have been avoiding when you are already in the middle of something else hard. I was tired of being a coward and just wanted to have it done. But without a doubt, it was soul sapping and although I will miss my home, my ward, my friends and my amazing neighborhood, I am glad to have such a large hurdle cleared.

Every night for the final week and a half turned into a 2-3 a.m. packing marathon since I found I couldn't get anything done while the kids were awake. J was out of town for 10 days and even my usual breaks from the kids didn't happen. They missed their usual time with dad and let me know it! Three days before the move, I pinched a nerve in my back and after suffering through it for two days, I finally dragged myself to the doctor and begged for something that would just get me through moving day. I got teary as I explained that not functioning was not an option. At this emotional onslaught, the PA threw a few different prescriptions for muscle relaxers at me, wished me luck and fled. Not my greatest moment, but at this point let's face it. Who hasn't seen me cry? :-) I was so tired, I was beyond caring. Britny spent several evenings at my place helping pack up, bringing me diet coke, sitting with the sleeping kids and lending her truck so I could steal around town under the cover of darkness and find dumpsters for the increasingly growing pile of trash bags.

I was not a great mom during moving week and (good reasons or not) I feel guilty about it. I hurt, I was stressed, I was sleep deprived, and I barely refrained from smacking Junior. upside the head when he asked me disdainfully one morning (when he woke up at the crack of dawn and I made him pour his own cereal) "why are you so lazy, mom?" Oi.

But we did it. It took a village on both ends, but we are here! Bek showed up last Friday with a U-haul trailer full of furniture she was recycling out (Bek's hand me downs are like gold! The woman has great taste), a car full of Trader Joe's orders for all the Utah folks (mmm, Joe Joe's) and one of my very favorite little people in the world, her daughter Lulu. They packed my kitchen and Lulu packed the last of the kids stuff and mopped every mop-able surface in the house. At least half the men in my ward showed up on Saturday to help load up the U-Haul and Britny's Jared drove it to the new place for me. Bek directed the moving on the Provo end of things and I stayed behind to finish up, clean up and most importantly, to say good bye.

"It's just a house" is what I heard from several people when I would explain my reluctance to leave. But it wasn't. It was my home. It was my nest, it was where I brought two of my babies home and where they learned to walk. It was where we spent holidays and entertained friends and family. It was the room J and I slept in every night and stayed up late talking in. It was the home we were so excited to get into and the yard we watched our boys run in. It was my fortress when I retreated to lick my wounds and possibly most important of all, it was the last place on earth where we were a whole family. That makes it temple-like in its sacredness to me. It was definitely not just a house. I want to make clear that I was not kicked out, I was not asked to leave by J. Leaving my home was 100% my choice. But the reasons that it would have been so hard to stay in it wound up being the same reasons that made it so hard to leave. But what it boils down to is that I could not stay in the home where I was abandoned. I couldn't stand to hear J knock on the same door he walked through and kissed me hello at the end of the day for four years. I could not stay in a town where I was constantly on the watch for the day I would run into my husband and his mistress. I had to find a place that was mine, no matter how painful the separation. So, here we are, cautiously optimistic. We are closer to more family here and I have more options for when I start school again soon. So, thank you to everyone who helped me make this change. It was huge and emotional and it is not something I could have done alone. Thank you to my ward for the manpower, the prayers and the support. Thank you to Britny and Jared for sparing the nights of help and for everything you did to help me get set up on the other end. Thank you to Bek for coming out and being the support that I didn't know I needed (but she did). Thank you to my parents for watching the kids so well so I could work. Thank you to my parents in-law for showing up to help, painful backs notwithstanding. Thank you to my new neighbors for being so welcoming. I feel we have landed in a friendly place.

I'd like to share a few pictures of my old house. It was the setting for some serious heartbreak, but there was so much good there too. I will always love it.

The Living Room

The Family Room

My Bedroom (J and I put up the shelves around the top of the wall the week before we moved in. Thanks for the idea, Pottery Barn :-)

My kitchen, finally complete with new floor and beautiful new cabinets

The boys room. I painted this room when it was Bubba's nursery and spent hours getting the stripe on the wall straight. The color scheme worked a little better when it was a baby room, but I loved it so much I couldn't bring myself to paint over it.

The boys bedroom door, a two year work in progress. Only very special stickers (and the label from the jello packs we bought) made it on there.

Sis's room. We put the bead board in the week before we moved in and it used to be blue (it was Junior.'s room). When we found out we were having a girl, it just had to be pink! I never did quite get to put the finishing touches on this room, but I loved how it was turning out. Can you tell I find white walls completely boring?

My favorite part about these rooms were the window seats!

I found these ornaments clearanced at walmart after Christmas a few years ago and hung them all along one wall.

This picture was just too cute not to post. Two year old Gracie came across some of my nail polish in the packing up on moving day and talked Jared into taking a little break.


  1. Oh, that is so tough. Well done on surviving it! Also, bravo on going through all the memory triggers, which is the hardest part of all. I've still got a box of photos I haven't been able to go through yet... Your post has made me decide to tackle it after this term's exams!

    I hope you find getting rid of the triggers WAS cathartic. If it's anything like mine, it's when you go days, weeks, maybe months without being punched in the chest by a random piece of paper/odds'n'end that screams "remember when..." - and it's because you did the difficult thing, before.

    Hope your move works better than your wildest, deepest dreams!

  2. Great post Cyn. I always enjoyed going to your house, you've got a great knack for making anything seem homey. I know you'll do the same with your new house.

    I can't wait to see it. How are the kids adjusting? I'm sure Sam loves being so close to Lily...