Yesterday, on the way home from school, I told Maddie and Riley what was happening. The back of the car was filled with moving boxes, and the two of them wanted to know what the boxes were for.
"What those boxes for? We gonna put our toys in there?" they queried.
"Actually, funny you should ask. We are going to put your toys in there, and your clothes, and Mama's stuff, and we're going to take it all to S and N's house and we're going to stay there for a while," I explained. "We'll take you cribs, too. And you'll get to sleep in the same room as N."
"We can sleep in the same room? Duckie and Froggie are gonna come? The cats are gonna be there?" The questions came fast and furious from both Maddie and Riley.
"I LOVE cats and dogs!" added Riley, for good measure.
"We'll share our toys," pointed out Maddie.
Overall, both Maddie and Riley seemed excited by the idea, but the toddler mind is nothing if not mysterious. For starters, their concept of time is rather loose. Maddie and Riley seem to understand past, present, and future, but five minutes ago and five days ago are the same to them: past. Anything in the future is tomorrow, or after nap. So when I tried to explain when we'd be moving, they didn't quite get it. For now, it suffices that it's not today. The other thing about toddlers, at least Maddie and Riley, is that they often claim excitement about something in the theoretical, but are then much less enthusiastic in reality.
It's going to be an adjustment, no matter how you slice it. I hope that Maddie and Riley's initial enthusiasm remains. We'll see next Monday.
As for my mind, I've been all over the place. I feel good about the decision to move and to put our condo on the market. Yes, I'll lose money, but I'll also be in a position to start saving again rather than slowly bleeding out, and in a position where the loss of my job would not be financially catastrophic to my family.
Equally important, I'll be freed of a huge emotional weight. It's not possible for me to express how stuck my house makes me feel. The burdens and sorrow of the last few months of John's life are everywhere. I go to bed every night in the room—in the bed! on the sheets!—where he died. I feel like a slave to the life we had, and even more so to the life we didn't have. I feel like I can't move forward from a physical position of so much pain.
Of course, I'll still sleep in the same bed in our new place, and my mind will still hold on to the painful memories of John's illness. But I hope and believe that being physically elsewhere, changing our scene, giving us a new experience, will allow me to be more open to ways to move on. That emotional freedom along with the financial freedom of being out from under the house are important steps in moving on, steps towards building a life that honors the time Maddie, Riley, John, and I had together while creating something new and more grounded in joy.
Anyone in the market for an awesome condo in greater Boston?
*I need a name for this friend, as she and her daughter will likely be coming up a lot more in the blog. You know who you are: what should I call you two? Real names? Something else?