Last week it hit me.
Like, for real.
The idea has been, that when Self-Proclaimed Perfect Boy Gabe heads off to college, we will wait through the summer after his freshman year (you know, cuz he’ll want to come back and visit his friends back in the ‘hood) and then we will move to Maine.
This decision was years in the making and involved a lot of contemplating, and also fake-shopping, for our dream empty-nest home.
As I have previously described, fake shopping, over coffee, on realtor.com always ends with an excuse as to why we can’t move to the bazillion dollar home we’ve found. Humidity, not enough bedrooms for each dog to have their own, the fear of any mention of a garbage disposal (on my part)…
But every time we talked about it, sometimes in interrupted chunks of conversation that lasted weeks at a time, we always came back to the old inn in Maine.
It’s where we both want to be.
But I didn’t want to romanticize it (well, not too much), so I took a hard-nosed, realistic look at what it would mean to move there.
You know, like a grown up.
I considered the fact that living there year round would not be the same as living there in the summer.
I’ve visited a ton in the wintertime over the past couple of years. I’ve driven the roads, and even hunkered down for my first Maine blizzard.
I know that Janet and Oliver – owners of the General Store – will be lifelines for me (as humans to say ‘hello’ to, as I settle in, as well as purveyors of life-sustaining coffee and Boothbay Registers).
I know which restaurants and stores are open year round, and where to get a drink with scientists and lobstermen (Robinson’s) and how many neighbors will be on my street between November and April (two).
And I know that we have done all we can to create a house that will be warm and cozy and ‘hug-gy’ in the off-season, for writing and dog-ing (and one day chicken-ing!) and living and being.
So now I know I am about to move – no fake shopping involved – from a townwe’ve lived in since 1993 – and it’s feeling more and more, you know, real.
So I started… you know… packing.
Okay, not really packing.
Okay, not even really that.
But editing one’s belongings so one does not have to move them absolutely counts as that first step of moving.
So I totally started moving.
And I have realized that I am not a good editor.
I am, however, a good collector.
Of, like… everything.
And, often, by accident.
Those books in that photo up above? Those represent the edits of exactly four teeny shelves of books, approximately 28 inches long each (I measured for you) and, unfortunately, extra deep.
So what I thought was me about to edit four rows of books on four little shelves, actually ended up being me editing something like eight plus rows of books and whatever books I could pile on top of those rows of books and, lo and behold, a whole set of super dusty flag football belts and flags that I think were part of a Christmas present I gave to my children when Gabe was about… eight.
With the sheer linear footage (and thickness) of the rest of the shelves in this house….
I can’t even think about it.
And I’m sure, as the months pass – as do the categories of stuff to be sorted through – I will find myself laughing (at my complete failure to edit along the way, despite insisting I would, when we moved into this house in Dunstable (from the other house… in Dunstable)) ten years ago. I’m also certain there will be tears, as I unearth dated or labeled somethings from Grampa’s part of the cellar (or find something I’ve been looking for forever, that he ‘organized so I would find it’ long ago)).
They’ll be memories of Christmases past…
Family gatherings (we had most of them here, especially as Grampa became less comfortable with large gatherings (and would retreat to his apartment during them to ‘recharge’ (me often joining him for the same reason…))…
Raising kids and dogs and cats (and one wayward African Spur-Thighed Tortoise)…
All those things will visit me – the memories and the recollections, happy, sad, nostalgic even.
And I’m looking forward to all of them.
What a one-dimensional life it would be to only look forward when there is so much backward to appreciate.
It would be – literally – a half-life, or less.
My memories – good and bad – are there always, at the ready.
Or marvel at.
And, always, to learn from.
I am, often, in awe of how the old experiences frame my new ones.
I’m taking all my memories with me. No matter how many boxes it takes.
I’ll save the editing for the stuff.
Thanks for readin’.
As always, come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment <3
p.s., NOTE TO BURGLERS: I say we have 22 months to get ready to move. JoHn says 11. His logic is that we said we would own the house in Dunstable so that when Gabe comes back from his freshman year in college, he can visit his friends. However, JoHn says there is nothing keeping us from moving to Maine in 11 months instead of 22 months. This will not happen due to my previously mentioned issue with editing and how long it will take me to do so. However, I am tossing this out there because I figure, if he gets his way and the house is empty in 11 months – for 11 months, and you happen to come in and burgle it… I am going to look at it as you helping with – yep – my editing. And I thank you. In advance.