Is your heart there?
If that's how the ubiquitous they determine where home is, then it's a pretty tall order to expect your heart to suddenly shift from one place to another, just like that.
How about we say home is where mail arrives in your name. That's an easier one to quantify. In that case, we officially have a new place to call home. I'd love to say that I always feel at home wherever I'm surrounded by the ones I love, but that would be pompously disingenuous, because my emotions are so affected by my environment. And I am a creature of habit who needs a routine and familiarity. I'm the person who, upon arriving at a hotel, needs to create a place for the shoes, a layout for the toiletries, and order for the suitcase contents. Moving into a new house takes that process up a few notches, to say the least.
At this point, 99.9% of the boxes that need to be unpacked have been tackled, and those that have been deemed important enough to keep but not important enough to unpack for this one year lease have been shipped off to storage. (It pains me to say that my entire picture book collection falls under the latter category, as I'll no longer have little ones hanging out with me during the day. Seriously, it's like a punch in the gut.) The list of things to do that remain are mostly the tasks I know I shouldn't try on my own, so I'll be waving that paper around in the husband's face annoyingly until they can all get crossed off. The biggest job left is figuring out where to house all the boxes that we're keeping since we'll be doing this fun all over again in a year, though a move in town will undoubtedly be way easier and require fewer boxes than a 350+ mile trek.
As I placed my beloved novels on shelves (sorry, picture books, they did get to come out, don't be mad), a wee bit of a calmness came over me. If I were living in a cartoon, there would have been a little sprinkling of stars twinkling above my head. Then the kitchen began to get settled, and with mac-and-cheese on the pantry shelves and our 20-year-old Corningware nestled in the cabinets, the calmness grew, and it continued to do so with each box.
For days, it felt like I was simply playing a life-sized version of that little puzzle game you see in birthday party goodie bags. You know the one where there are square tiles in a square box with one empty space, and you have to slide them around one at a time until they find themselves in the correct spaces to form the picture? Very often, you have to make moves that feel like you're going in the wrong direction just to get to the one piece that needs to be in place first. That was me with our moving boxes-- lifting or sliding them from one spot to another, seemingly making a greater mess in the process of trying to get one box out and put away. The entire first week found me looking at the disaster area at the end of each day wondering what I had to show for my 8-10 hours of work. It was exhausting, more so emotionally than physically.
Then, it came to an end. (Mostly. 99.9%, remember?) Furniture was in place. Drawers were filled. Grown-up purchases like rugs and curtains were secured. Lying down on the couch in the evening returned to the daily line-up of activities, and books began to be read again. And with all of that, the home designation was complete. Even better than our own mail arriving at our door is the feeling that we are where we belong. Home.
|How about home is where the porch swing is?|
There will always be a part of my heart in our old 'hood. I didn't get a memento of it tattooed for nothing. But, it's beginning to feel like there's room for our new town in all that love, too.