Moving is never easy. Since I’ve done it six times in ten years, I sort of go on auto-pilot: arrange for movers, declutter closets, call all utility companies on both sides, etc.
But my little girl isn’t so familiar with the process, and she expresses it clearly.
She moved as a baby, but her biggest concerns back then were mastering pureed foods and knowing mama’s location at all times. Now she’s three years old, and packing up our life has made a larger impact on her life.
Our most recent move happened about six months ago. It took us from Pittsburgh to the Washington, D.C. area. She has new friends and loves her preschool, but she still talks about her old house with tears in her eyes.
“I miss our green house, mama,” she says. This time her little voice comes from the back seat of my car. I try to validate her feelings and remind her that we like our new house, too.
“But it’s not green, and it’s not good,” she counters. I am distracted and almost miss the turn to our new, not green, house.
“I miss my friends, my school with the bell tower, my library with the play kitchen,” she offers. I tell her that I miss all of those things, too. I miss our routine and our regular places. I even miss the layout of the Target–this one just isn’t as easy to navigate.
And I totally get her sentiment. Change is rarely fun, and it can take a long time to feel settled. The cardboard boxes have been gone for months, but there is still a tiny twinge that pulls at my heartstrings when I think of our green townhouse.
It’s the place where I put myself back together after struggling through infertility and postpartum depression and anxiety.
It is the place where I learned how to be a mom and where my baby turned into a little girl.
She learned to crawl on the soft carpeting of our living room and took her first steps at the playground down the street.
She saw her first snow from our patio doors, nose pressed against the cold glass, making a fog with her perfect baby breath.
Why would I want to let that go? That happy place where my child napped for two hours every day and neighborhood kids played in the driveways. It’s no coincidence that it is also the place where I saw the most rainbows–at least ten in three years. As a new mom deep in baby land, I needed those rainbows, those colorful rays of hope and joy. Our green house delivered.
When we pull into the driveway and wait for the garage door to open, she says, “I like our new house, too, but I wish it could be more like our green house.” I smile because I know that one day it will feel like we’ve lived here all along. We are already finding our footing and feeling right at home.
One day I will send her off to kindergarten from this front stoop and greet her friends as they scurry to the basement. I’ll take her picture before her first high school dance beside this fireplace and wave as she pulls out of the driveway.
I know all of these things to be true. She can’t see them yet. But I know the memories are just waiting to be made.