The Sucker Punch of Moving


We get to see my little sister and her family tomorrow, as they drive through our area on their way to their new home in Portland, Oregon. She has been in the San Francisco Bay Area all her adult life. She has had the most terrific views, and walked to everything she loves doing. She has moved a couple of times, but this is a big move – out-of-state.

My boys are so excited to see her and their cousins, and their cool uncle Phil. My heart won’t let me stop borrowing trouble. I’m grieving for her, because I know how hard an out-of-state move can be. I never cried when I left Fresno three years ago. I had it all planned out, that I would cry as we left the house in the wee hours of the morning. We left at 4am to get a few hours of the long drive out-of-the-way while the boys were still sleeping. But they weren’t asleep! They were awake and excited, and I didn’t get to cry. I focused instead on the adventure that lay ahead of us. I cried real tears when we drove over the border into Oregon, and looked down from way up there on I-5, down into the loveliness of the Ashland hills and valleys, and I suddenly felt like I was coming home. But I never cried for Fresno.

The thing about leaving is that you can’t take all the goodness with you. We couldn’t take Grandma Lynette and the warmth of her home, and the fact that she was just down the street… we couldn’t take that with us to Oregon. We couldn’t take the fact that Wednesday Night Family Dinner with our older boys and their girlfriends coming over was becoming the day of the week that we looked forward to the most. And there are granddaughters there too! Words cannot convey the tug on our hearts over them. They are all still in California, and we are here, and we can’t see each other anywhere near enough. Little things, like the smells down certain roads when everything was in bloom. The girls that worked at Safeway and the Bank who became friends because we saw them so often. The magical preschool that Ben attended, that Bean never got to go to. My friends at the Women’s Chamber, and the Rogue Festival – people who were in my circle and listened to my poetry willingly.

I’m crying now, and I can’t stop.

I love where we live, I absolutely love it. Being out in the country is perfect for my little guys. That’s the part of a big move that is the fun part – the looking forward to all the new things. The Going. The going toward something new is so different from the leaving behind of all the precious.

There are things that are sacred in that space, that will never be recreated, that will be remembered, but from afar. They will never be sipping iced tea on our back porch with us, all kicked back and relaxed without a care in the world again. If our friends or family visit, we know they have to leave again. It’s not the same. It’s just not the same as having them with us always. We focus forward, because that’s how we’re wired, to try to lift our spirits and find the lovely. But part of this big global community that we’ve created means that people get flung far and wide from each other, and it’s not cool. That’s what I’m driving at, really. That’s all I’m trying to say. I want to cry for my beloved Fresno. I want to walk down the streets that held so much for me at one time.

Maybe I’m just now realizing how hard all this moving has been on me all my life. I’ve moved a lot. And I’m always the Polly Anna looking forward to all the fun I’ll have in the next spot. And I’ve left bits of my heart at each place I’ve ever called home.

Oh Tater-tots. My little sister is coming tomorrow and I want to be happy to see her, and not start sobbing the second she pulls in the driveway. More than anything, I want to be sensitive to the fact that she and her family are going through something big. They may be in lots of different emotions all at once. They may be exhausted from packing, and all the events surrounding a going away, they may be excited, they may be quiet. Who knows? But, I want to give them space to have all those feelings. Moving is not a neat and tidy package. Moving is a tear-jerker. Moving is a sucker punch. And then there’s the getting there, and the roller-coaster continues.

Let us just be a quiet place along the way, a chill spot where they can have some fun, kick back, relax (hold a bunny, milk a goat!), eat some good food, maybe catch a breathtaking sunset, breathe deep of our wide skies and long view, and then get back on the road and go forward to their new home. Let us be!

photo from here

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