Sunday, November 22, 2015

Moving Day

We moved a lot when I was a kid.

I remember 6 different moves before I was 15 years old. Our reasons for pulling up anchor every couple of years weren't lofty. Mine wasn't a military or missionary family or anything like that, but simply a poor one. My mom was young and single, so in order to capitalize on cheap housing options, we could never stay too long in one place--the rent always went up.

I think where they live, and for how long, matters to kids. Or at least, it mattered to me when I was a kid. I used to fantasize about how it would be to live the lives I believed my friends lived, some of whom went to college from the same house their parents brought them home to when they were born. To go to school with kids you'd known your whole life. To live somewhere where a door frame in the house marked your growth over the years. Where you knew all the good hiding places, and the quickest route to your best friend's tree house, two streets over. That was the life I wished I had.

Instead, my sister and I started over every couple of years, and since I craved the safety and security of the familiar, it was hard on me. One year in particular, when I was having trouble acclimating at my new school, I remember going to the nurse on average once every few weeks, having developed a legitimate fever from the daily anxiety I battled. Of course, she had to send me home, and since all I wanted in the world was to go home to my mom, I guess my little body cooperated.

I was as itinerant as the next fledgling kid in my college and post-college years, but I was so busy experiencing life and building rich relationships, it didn't bother me. Once I started working and gained control over where I lived and for how long, though, I've tended to grow where I'm planted. I've learned a lot about myself over the years and have come to terms (mostly) with the life my mom was able to provide for me. But I don't like to move and probably never will.

And in light of my own struggles in childhood, now that I have children of my own, I want to shape a life for them that wasn't possible for me as a child. I want them to track their growth by marks on a door frame. I want them to know the best hiding places for all their treasures, and to wear a path on the quickest route to their best friend's house. I want them to know the safety and comfort of familiarity.

A week ago, yesterday, marks a step in that direction. Last Saturday, we moved. I moved into my apartment in Midtown 5 years ago--a young, single woman who couldn't keep a plant alive. Today I'm leaving with a family. (I still can't keep a plant alive, but my partner can, so it's ok). Over the years, I put down roots. I cultivated deep and lasting friendships, nurtured a career, fell in and struggled with love. I developed an abiding love for my adopted city, endured pain and loss, weathered crises of faith, and brought my children home.

I grew up there, but now it's much too small to continue to hold all the life I have to live. Those peeling walls hold the memories of so many of my triumphs, failures, joys and sorrows, and the door frames keep a record of my growth. I will miss that place dearly, even as I stretch my cramped legs in relief.

We're suburbanites, now, God help us. Richmond Heights, thanks for the memories.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sometimes, I Wonder Why I Even Bother.

Conversation with The Artist, via text:

A: I'm at Whole Foods. We need anything?
Me: Yes! Milk, and some of that yummy basil salad dressing, thanks!
A: ...

Later that day...

Me: (looking in the fridge) Did you get milk, today?
A: No, after I texted you, I didn't check to see if you'd texted back, so I didn't realize we needed some.
Me: Wth...???