Ironically, the section of the book I’m reading right now is all about transitions.
To ease the transition of moving for our children, I gathered a thematic collection of books to borrow from the library:
- Fred Rogers’ Moving (classic – right down to the 80s fashion in the photos!)
- Mo Willems’ City Dog, Country Frog (we are going from city to country – though I didn’t expect the heartbreaking twist!)
- Our House by Emma and Paul Rogers (inspired my daughter to suggest leaving a time capsule; guess it translated my idea of legacy and different chapters in life)
- Moving by Michael Rosen (the cat giving his family the cold shoulder b/c of the move didn’t quite get across the positive vibe I was going for, but I guess it shows that even ambivalence can be won over with food!)
As I sifted through the on-line card catalog, I extended my search to books for me. I think originally I was looking for books on the logistics of moving, tips and tricks. Maybe. Who knows? I’m all over the road lately. But in any event, I found two titles that sounded interesting. The first, Moving On by Sarah Ban Breathnach, caught my eye because I’ve had Simple Abundance on my shelf for years. I figured the universe might be giving me a nudge if I was seeking books on moving and here was one by the woman who first introduced the idea of a gratitude journal to me. Though I know her other title to be more of a self-help, for some reason I expected a memoir on the rigors and epiphanies of moving. There are personal anecdotes, but it’s also about finding one’s true home regardless of physicality; being comfortable with one’s space in the world regardless of where she calls home. The idea of home and making the space within those four walls enjoyable is tackled, but it’s really more about letting go of excess baggage to make room for that enjoyment.
Ha, ha, ha. So funny as my days are filled with purging and packing. I am totally in limbo. This home no longer looks like my own as the boxes begin to outnumber the intentional home décor. My new home is still occupied by someone else. So I’m hanging out somewhere in the ‘twain’. I can’t do any of those exercises she suggests for finding what works about your home because I don’t know which one to focus on! I know the chaos that surrounds me right now certainly isn’t working.
So I get about halfway through this book and reach the section on transitions. A major thrust of it is that we actually make these difficult times even harder for ourselves by refusing to let go, go with the new flow of things, honor the past and appreciate the future. Who, me? I hate change. There are some people who have wondered if I want to move. Yes, of course. And another scared, change-hating part of me, says, this is so freakin’ hard. I lay in bed one night and realized I’d have to leave the blades of grass I’d stenciled onto the walls of our first nursery (affectionately known as the grassy knoll). So between the stress of actually making the move a reality and the mental and emotional preparation, I probably do come across as a little ambivalent at times.
But not because I’m not looking forward to settling in our great new house and setting up shop, exploring the community, meeting people. It’s just because I’m apparently really good at setting up roadblocks on the way to transition town.
And so this is where another highly appropriate quote from Moving On comes into play. Ban Breathnach shares the words of Mary McCarthy, who says,
“There are no new truths, but only truths that have not been recognized by those who have perceived them without noticing.”
Ha! If that does not describe me in nearly every aspect of my life, I don’t know what does. How often have I relearned something I’d already known? How often have I ignored what needed to be done though the answer was staring me in the face? Human frailty, I suppose. That damn weak free will. We know what’s best and yet take the easier, more convenient, if insanely repetitive and possibly destructive, path.
I know I need to focus on the amazing truths on my doorstep. A rich life lived in this beautiful little house with many pleasant memories to pack. A lovely, airy, hope-filled home waiting for us to fill it with sights and sounds and silliness. I know I can be my authentic self there. I know this transition will make me stronger and truer. It’s just a hell of a lot easier to feel it when you’re at the other end of the journey.
In a somewhat related vein, the other book I chose to read is a memoir: On Moving: A Writer’s Meditation on New Houses, Old Haunts, and Finding Home Again by Louise DeSalvo. I have yet to read it. I’ll let you know what epiphanies that unveils ☺
What books have helped you and your children make a successful transition when moving?