Moving On

roadIn my twenties I moved around tons of times. Yes, tons. From the East coast to the West coast and back again, from the bottom of Florida to the hills of New York, and from mid-west Michigan to northeast Vermont. Each move I packed up the bare essentials and gave away the rest. Possessions came and went. Each move was fueled by adventure and possibility far greater than material goods and I never looked back.

Then came my thirties when I found myself taking root in a rural village where children were born, gardens were tended, and the seasons rippled away.  As our older relatives downsized we were gifted their heirlooms and furniture quickly accumulated in that small farmhouse. These possessions were welcome, as well as the memories woven into their upholstery. Our children too accumulated shiny awards and crafted treasures. Within a short decade the small farmhouse in the rural village burgeoned into a busy hive of people coming and going, expanding their interests from basketball hoops to music stands to art supplies, expanding their desires from a gerbil to a bunny to a kitten to fish; daily we kept adding until there wasn’t any space left in that small farmhouse, and soon life demanded we move again, this time to a grand house on the hill.

Despite relocating to a grand new house, for the first time, I found moving emotional because this was where our kids had romped and grown, had brought home first loves and sad news, had dreamed their dreams. Packing up their lives felt far more precious than mine ever did, and hard decisions were made. What would get discarded? What would get boxed up? What would move into their future worlds beyond mine? But since we were moving into a grand house we felt we could bring just about everything. Or close to it. So only some of those questions were answered and we filled the biggest van.

On the last day, after the U-haul days, I wandered around the empty farmhouse, still hearing their voices, still seeing their faces, all the many moments of time trapped within those walls and the surrounding village. It was a hard door to close, but I reminded myself, we were headed into an adventure, so I stepped out with an enthusiasm stronger than tears.

Funny part was we could have fit the whole farmhouse inside this grand one and we almost did. Within hours the basement was a sea of boxes stored for later decisions while upstairs our meager possessions looked, well, meager. However, more pressing than furniture were the three floors with many rooms needing attention. We planned through the months of spring and worked through the heat of summer. We stripped wall-paper and painted walls. We ripped-up carpet and laid flooring,  We brought grace and elegance back to the 1860 stately mansion and never begrudged a moment of our labor. The grand dame deserved all the glitter we could restore to her.

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Furniture was bought,  couches and end tables and sideboards and beds, plates and bowls for twenty and extra flutes for toasting, and all along the way we thought of the holidays and the faces of those we love standing in the threshold, breathing in the charm. Their delight fueled us to consider every vase and lamp placement, the fabric of the sofa and the down of the comforter.  Slowly we made the grand house into a home and over the ensuing years we celebrated on a large scale.

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Children, capped and gowned, ventured out and away, and, as we all do when leaving home, they left behind their dusty treasure: baseball cards and summer photographs, elementary school projects and high school trophies, bats and balls and hats and coats, drawers filled with sports jerseys and love letters. And, as we were the one with the big house, we received more heirlooms; boxes stuffed with stuff discarded from someone’s life now entrusted to us. This swelling continued until this grand house felt full and the basement and closets began to groan each time something was added.

Here would be a good place to pause and read a Robert Frost poem. Something about time passing on the green fields now spotted with snow; some metaphor for the cycle of life, for as nature reminds us, seasons change and life moves on, because our days in the grand house are at an end. Yes, we are moving on to our next chapter!

But the undoing of such a home is not easy. There are pages and pages of memory, even beyond our own, to let go of now. We must face all that we brought here, and all that we created. We must untangle the part of us that will move on from what we will discard.

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Moving on demands we do just that, and so, we will close this door as we did the one before, stepping forward less encumbered than when we arrived and much like our younger selves, we will let the next adventure pull us onward without a tear.

32 thoughts on “Moving On

  1. Moving is always an interesting experience. Your house is over though and there are plenty of new memories to make 😀 I look forward to hearing about them here.

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  2. Wishing you all the best as your turn this page in life’s storybook. You have lovingly described this latest home and I hope you’ll share your new adventure with us, too.
    P.S. I get nostalgic on recycling Saturdays, so I can’t imagine what it would be like to leave such a beautiful place! 🙂

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    • Right? It will be a challenge to step forward, but it is exciting too, one can get lost in such a BIG house, consumed actually! I will share again once we are settled in our new home. Thanks for reading!

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  3. This is beautifully written. I started thinking about the home I grew up in and it made me smile, cry and smile again. Sending you love and light for your journey getting settled into your new home.

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  4. I cried when we sold our old farmhouse: not only were we leaving a place where many dear memories took place, but we found out the buyer planned to tear the house down in order to build a McMansion. It broke my heart, but there was nothing we could do. The Realtor, who was afraid I was going to back out, told me we were lucky to find a buyer in a bad market. I also knew, deep in my heart, that it was time to move on. Your post describes those feelings well. 🙂

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  5. A beautiful post, describing so well the inevitability of time and life’s journey..it feels so bitter-sweet, but the next step will also become valued, and treasured as you start another adventure…

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  6. Loved the story, such sweet and amazing memories, and each move certainly a new adventure. May this one bring you the joy you have found along the way. What a great reason to declutter and pass on treasures that someone else will enjoy. There is nothing better than feeling unburdened by to much “stuff” that we’ve all accumulated over the years. Happy packing and landing in Stowe!

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  7. Beautiful post. I wish you the very best in this journey–and I must hear more about the many places you’ve lived in your life. I had no idea you graced so many areas with your energy.

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  8. ‘ We must untangle the part of us that will move on from what we will discard.’
    wow…what a sentence
    doubt that that house was ever written so eloquently about before
    beautiful 9c girl and thanks

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  9. This is really beautifully written! I’ll always fondly remember the warm welcome at this charming home. But here’s to new memories and exciting new beginnings!

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