Moving

Last weekend we moved from the garden studio we’ve called home for the past five years. This was the home Lily was conceived in. Where we brought her home on Christmas day. Where I’d wanted to give birth. A place I was safe. It was a very special place for us.

I find myself crying even now as I type this. Although we were probably outgrowing the space, we didn’t move by choice. Our landlady’s son and new wife and baby are moving in. I’m very happy for them—and I know this is ultimately best for all of us, but it’s still hard. A chapter has ended, a very good chapter. And I don’t know yet what the new one will bring. As much as I like to pretend that I’m adventurous and up for new experiences, at the core I’m actually a home body, a nester. I am willing to take flight, but I don’t migrate well.

I cried over this fear in my church/spiritual discussion group this weekend. But—and here’s why I go even when I want to hibernate—I was heard and then hugged. There is such comfort in having a friend hear your fears, really hear them. Even if nothing has changed about the situation, somehow I don’t feel alone anymore.

After I’d cried, a friend who is one of the wise elders in my life summed up exactly why moving is so hard, at least for me. “Baby,” she said in her wonderfully comforting New Orleans accent, “Moving is hard because it’s about home. It’s normal to feel sad. When we move we revisit every loss we’ve ever had.”

That’s exactly how I’ve felt with this move. Loss of a space where I had been very happy and loss of control because we weren’t moving on our timetable. That might be why I’d had such a hard time getting any real packing done. Well, that and a five-month old who thinks 20 minutes is a plenty long nap! (Thank goodness we have friends and family who swooped in over the weekend and moved us. Our transition to the new nest really took the enthusiastic involvement of our whole flock!)

The new place is in a good location—hopefully a bit sunnier come this August and close to great dog and baby walking, but it just isn’t our private little garden haven. We have to get used to street noise and apartment living. And no dishwasher…

Last night as Lily fell asleep next to me on our bed, er, mattress on the floor, that is, I was wondering how the move seemed to her. Did she even notice the different surroundings? Could she tell how tired and stressed out her parents were?

She fell asleep after nursing, her top arm flailing about rather wildly until she finally grasped my finger and held on tightly. I could tell she was falling into deeper sleep as her hold gradually slackened.

It occurred to me that maybe she has a better, simpler, and ultimately more lasting definition of “home”: us. Her parents, her dog, and her food source were all in one place. Home travels with her. This is a lesson I’m still struggling to learn from her. She seems to truly believe the lyrics of one her favorite lullabies, “Smiles awake you when you rise.”

She slept straight through until six this morning, right on through the sounds of the #43 making its way down Lombard street.