"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."~Robert Frost
It is something that we've been talking about for several years but haven't actively pursued until the past several months. It has been a veritable whirlwind of paperwork, open houses, cleaning, purging, and the scouting of possible new landing spots for The Husband and me. Last night, we finally made it official.
We high-fived each other and hugged our wonderfully diligent agent; we immediately called the boys and our parents to let them know the news; The Husband poured himself a dram of one of his favourites, and I immediately retreated into silence to watch the wretched series finale of Castle. (Don't you just hate it when your favourite series devolves into frustrating and unapproachable storylines that moronically deviate from the original premise? But I digress.) The Husband, ever the concerned and caring partner, worried about my distance. I assured him that I was just overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation. The idea of planning, downsizing, and packing was daunting and that I just needed a bit of time to process it all.
True. All of it.
But there is more.
It would be easy to claim that I am overly sentimental about this house. After all, this is the house in which our children came of age. This is the place where we hosted countless holiday gatherings, seders, Shabbat dinners, birthday parties, and poolside get-togethers. We've sat shiva here and we've celebrated an engagement and a wedding here. This house has been overrun by teenagers on numerous occasions, (and a bevy of wholly unwelcome squirrels) and it has been the seat of learning for more B'nai Mitzvah students than I can accurately count.
That isn't the reason for my melancholy.
In truth, I view the house as merely a vessel for the memories and those memories will endure no matter where I next choose to park my tired middle-aged carcass.
Instead, I am struck by the sheer magnitude and enormity of the change. For the first time since the early days of our marriage, we are making a lifestyle decision that is solely about the two of us. We aren't moving with an eye toward good schools, playgrounds, proximity to health care professionals, or even synagogues. For the very first time, we are forgoing the practicality that comes with raising a family and we are choosing for just us. And that.....is where the seed of my discomfort lays. There is something uniquely unsettling for me about that turn towards self.
I suppose that I have become conditioned (not always healthfully) to worry about how my decisions will affect others; parents, children, friends. Throughout this process, I found myself in uncharted territory, abandoning those restrictions, and embracing a freedom that I really had forgotten existed.
Perhaps, but isn't that ok? Our children are grown and off on their own paths. We are extremely proud of the people they have become, but they are living their own lives and pursuing their own varied interests. They AREN'T coming home. (I used to joke that Older Son would sooner beg on the streets and live in a garage rather than deign to move home. Such is the extreme independent streak so obviously apparent in his personality.) They may bitch and moan about having to clean out and dispose of the shit they've left behind, but they certainly aren't interested in inhabiting their old rooms with all of that stuff.
So, this is our time and this decision reflects that feeling of self. I am nervous and nauseated, but I wouldn't be me if I wasn't. The Husband keeps telling me that if we wait for the perfect time to do that which we want, we might never get to do it. Life has a funny way of evening up the score. We still plan to have family dinners and parties and maybe the occasional seder. Our friends might miss the pool, but we can offer them front row seats for the CNE airshow. We hope that our near and dear will enjoy making the trek south into the vast urban wilderness and us, in turn, have no qualms about re-visiting the North Jewish Ghetto. My house is the place where I store my stuff. My home is the place where I store and make my memories.
**I will have much more to say about this move in the days and weeks to come. In the meantime, we are purging and downsizing. If anybody has knowledge of individuals in need of housing supplies, please contact me offline. We might be able to help.