Wednesday, April 11, 2018

On kids moving in and moving out

Joe packing up in 2008 and, below,
 Katie's bags in 2018

The scene was the same: The living room as a staging area.

But the protagonists were different: Katie on Saturday getting her stuff ready for her move to New York.

Joe on Aug. 31, 2008, getting his things together for going back to college.

Katie had been in South Hadley between jobs for about two months. I'll leave the details to her, but I can say she wanted to live in New York, so she left Minnesota and came home to regroup.

She found a new job so quickly that it seemed like she had just unpacked when she started packing up again and then was leaving before I knew it. I expected her to be here longer, and although I of course wanted her to succeed in doing what she wanted to do, I was sorry to see her go. Well, she'll be closer than she was in Minneapolis, for sure.

We had a good little routine going, watching Friends and Parks and Rec and taking advantage of nearby fun places to go, such as The Bookmill on a rainy day well-suited to browsing and reading, and pancakes at Gould's Sugar House followed by a stroll around Shelburne Falls.

She wrote me a lovely note about our time together and got me the beautiful flowers in the photo. 

As for Joe, I came upon a post about one of his moving days when looking back at my blog upon its 10th birthday. I started it on April 1, 2008, so I could keep writing when unemployed and intermittently hospitalized. Then it just kept going. This one from Aug. 31, 2008, made me think about current events: kids moving out, moving in, and moving out again. I wrote:

"I woke up to the smell of late summer/early fall. It is hard to describe a smell. If this one had a color, it would be lemon yellow, not the brighter, crisper color and smell of real autumn. I am still close enough to my latest hospital stay that when I breathe in a sweet smell like this, I take a moment to be thankful that I’m out of lockup.

I also heard a strange sound. It was the sound of the washer and dryer running in tandem. All summer I had been after Joe to keep up with his wash. Now he was making up for lost time. He leaves for college tomorrow, and, true to his word, he was getting it done. It seemed like just yesterday that he had come home from Bates for the summer and the house was an obstacle course of laundry, suitcases, hockey stuff, books, sheets and towels, blankets, sleeping bag plus stuff he had accumulated during his first year away from home. It seems like he just finished putting it all away and now it is time to take it all back out. (And of course if I follow that thought all the way through, it seems like yesterday that I brought my premature second child home from the hospital.)

As I hovered, Joe had said, "You gotta do what you gotta do," 

Katie's move involved a team effort. Katie and I drove to Enfield, where Jim was waiting with a U Haul. He drove it to Norwalk to get Joe, who drove it into the city. Katie and I went in my Subaru, and, finding a parking spot right in front, thanked my father for the guidance.  

They arrived in the U Haul not long after. Jim and Joe did the heavy lifting. Katie did the medium lifting. It was four flights of stairs. I was almost relegated to door-holding for the whole time but protested. So I carried up some of the lighter things. The building was nice, but the stairs were uneven, and by the end of the day I was huffing and puffing. My phone said I had done 18 flights, but it felt like more than that.

It crossed my mind that at one point in the bad old days, Jim and I couldn't even stand near each other at the kids' games, and now we were working together, getting along fine.

We had lunch at a cozy neighborhood restaurant and then drove to Home Depot and back to the apartment, which she is sharing with two others. When Joe and I went out for coffee, I found a little plant for her bookshelf. The bed made and the curtains hung, the small room started to look like a new home for the baby of the family, the quiet one who has become the family adventurer.

When we said our good-byes, my eyes filled with tears. 

But now that she's closer we can see more plays...and I might even have a new place to stay.

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