I made my last trip to the old house today.  I put all the Goodwill items in my car to deliver.  I took the shower curtain and the wastebasket.  I took the rug from the front door.  I had a friends son with me.  Probably a good thing because I felt like crying like a baby.  I didn’t want to embarrass him so I kept it together.

I didn’t see my favorite neighbor as I drove away.  The neighborhood was pretty quiet.  Most houses are decorated for the holiday, except mine.   Its’ only adornment is the “For Sale” sign in the front yard.  It should have a SOLD sign on it.  Because it is.  Sold.  I left a basket of goodies for the new owner. We know ‘of’ each other.  We have common friends.  So I wanted to welcome her to her new home.

I wanted to tell her how to regulate the heat and how the linen closet door handle falls off.  I wanted to tell her Mr. Yi is a great neighbor and while he is quiet, he is a good neighbor.  I didn’t tell her any of those things.  Because all of that is hers to find out for herself.

I wanted to tell her about all the great memories contained in those walls.  I wanted to tell her stores of my Dad and Mom working to renovate my kitchen.  I wanted to tell her my whole family built my deck on the weekend the preschool had a farewell for me when I left teaching.  I wanted to tell her about how my family and I would sit and enjoy that deck when they came to visit at the right time of year.  I wanted to tell her within the first three weeks of moving in Chicago had a 21″ snowstorm that blew a 5 foot drift up against my garage.  I didn’t even own a snow shovel yet.

But she is going to make her own memories.  With her own friends and family.  It is going to be her home…no longer mine.

I’ve been thinking I lived there for 15 years.  A friend recently posted on FB that she was celebrating her 16 wedding anniversary.  Suddenly I remembered I moved in days before her wedding and had to hunt for my good shoes to wear to their wedding.  So 16 years.  You do a lot of living in 16 years.  More amazing I’ve lived in that same neighborhood all through college, post college apartment living and my first house…37+ years.  I had the same phone number for 30 of those years.

Have I mentioned I don’t always do well with major change?

I don’t regret this move.  I like my new sweet little house.  I love my attached garage and the fact that someone plows and mows and maintains the complex pool.  But today it felt like grieving.  Grief for the me I was.  Grief, missing my Mom and wishing she could see my new place.  Grief at all the last six months have thrown my way…our way as a family.

So tonight i decided to go with it.  I cried and cried.  I sat with no TV or music, by just the lights of the Christmas tree and tried to absorb the last two months.  And I cried some more.  A cat in my lap wondering what the big deal was.

Tomorrow is for celebrating Christmas with my employers and their kids.  Excited kids followed by THE Santa brunch.  Tomorrow is for trying to pack for my Michigan Christmas in a week.  And finding my flip flops for the trip to St. Maarten that follows the week after Christmas.  And it is all good and right.

Life is unfolding just as it should.  I know it.  But tonight is for trying to take in all the change.  Tonight is for realizing I left ‘home” to move towards my new HOME.

Sometimes that is all you can say…it goes on.  I find myself in a strange place.  My life is still in disarray and I can’t seem to get on top of that.  There is Christmas music playing everywhere and I have a tree with lights out in two tiers sitting in my (new) house.  I had decided not to decorate it, even though I actually know where those decorations are.  I decided the cheer of lights would be enough this year.  And then I plugged it in.  Lost my motivation in seconds.

I also went back to my old house to get the rest of the “stuff” from my basement.  Of course, once again, my new house, and garage, are full of boxes and stuff.  I just get it some semblance of order and more stuff comes in.  I still think there spots for most things to have a place but my energy for finding those places in pretty low.  I know that it will feel better once my home has some order.

Meanwhile back at work we are on the holiday train which is speeding towards the station and there is no getting off.  Gifts to buy, kid recitals galore, and you still have to feel them three meals a day.  Sigh.

My house is closer to being sold but in my present state of mind I am waiting for the glitch, the request for things to be fixed, the buyer not getting a loan…it weighs on me more than I like to admit.  It requires, in the middle of already being frantically busy, faxes, emails and phone calls to lawyers and realtors and argg.

And Christmas is coming.  The first one without my Mom.  It is hard to know how that will feel.  We had a good Thanksgiving.  I certainly missed her presence and there were hard moments but the rest of us were together and that helped.  Thanksgiving night a group of us, including my Dad, went to see Mary Poppins.  It was “practically perfect in every way” and a good end to the day.  My Dad was a little worried about dozing off during the show but with all the action and singing it found that impossible.  I’m wondering what new adventures we can come up with at Christmas.

And then after Christmas, my niece and I again get on a plane and fly to St. Maarten to meet up with the family I work for to spend a week with them.  I am really, really looking forward to that.

So life, it goes on.  In grief and laughter, in friends and family, in new places feeling like home and letting go of old places, in frustration (internet not working at home, again) and the simple pleasures of Lucia celebrations.

Life…it goes on.

Life is Good

"It's ironic that we

forget so often how

wonderful life really is...

C'mon, let's be honest.

We have an embarrassment

of riches. Life is good."

-Anne Quindlen

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