It’s been an emotional weekend at Spy Headquarters.Yesterday Mr. PQV came over with a van early in the morning and we loaded it up with 11 or 12 of our bookshelves and some other furniture. We tried for a sofa too, but the van was having none of it. Still, it’s nice knowing our bookshelves are going to a good home. I can’t think of people who will appreciate them more than the PQV family.
AJ was out of sorts afterwards. He’s been the best divester in the house, but I think the chaos of moving gets to him more than the rest of us (which is saying something, because it makes us all crabby). He had a meltdown and then went off to a friend’s house where he recovered his humor. I cleaned his room while he was gone, getting rid of all the grime kicked up by the moving furniture, neatening his small stack of books. He came back and said, “It doesn’t look as weird as I thought.”
But it is weird. All of it.
Today we got rid of two sofas. We freecycled the one I bought when AJ was two. You can read about the process of getting it here andhere and also here. This made Mr. Spy sad because he and AJ have always played games in the family room after dinner that have involved hurling themselves on that sofa. It’s held up amazingly well.
This afternoon, a bunch of Mr. Spy’s relatives came over. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law helped me pack up the ktichen. And AJ’s elder brother and wife came by with my niece, who has just moved into her first apartment, to pick up our futon sofa and some dishware. We hugged everyone goodbye. The ones we won’t see before we go — my brother-in-law and his family — promised to visit us in New York. The others cried when they left. This is hard on everyone. Mr. Spy comes from a family that is not used to people leaving.
It’s enough to make you lose your nerve. I was doing fine until a friend said he’d come over tomorrow and take our porch furniture set, a dumpy old trio of Adirondack furniture that I bought at a yard sale when we first moved here. I couldn’t care less about the furniture, but I’m going to miss the porch. I stood there looking out at the lawn, the blooming rudbeckia and phlox and Rose of Sharon, the green lawn. It feels like fall, my favorite time of year here. It’s the closest I’ve come to weeping.
The thing is, no matter how much you gain, there is always loss. I think the hardest thing about this move — indeed, every move we’ve made as a family — is that while we think we’re going somewhere good, we’re not going somewhere better than what we’re leaving. We’ve gone for dramatic changes, moving from a loft in Chicago’s Loop to a bucolic house in the exurbs to a small apartment in the heart of Brooklyn. We are not short on adventure, but nor are we short on sentiment. And the combination can be challenging. Ultimately, I think moving is a good thing for people to do sometimes. It’s hard as hell, but it’s also clarifying in many ways. I like to shake up my routines every now and then, to find new ways of being in the world, to see new things in the way you can only do when you live somewhere, when you take it on, embracing all of it: the good, the bad and the ugly.
When you are leaving, though, there is no bad and no ugly. There is only the good and perfect version, the ideal that you bought into when you made the decision to move there in the first place. In a little over week, it will only be memory.