Packing this time was different. When we moved to a short-term rental from our perfect “my first house” last fall, our life was different. Our triplets had just turned four and started pre-school. Our “big kids” were six and seven, in their grammar school prime as they acclimated to life as first and third graders. My husband and I were on the hunt for our “forever house”; we were sad to leave the house we loved but had outgrown, nervous about moving to a rental on the outskirts of town, and feverishly packing during every spare moment.
It took a long time to pack up that house – the house that welcomed our daughter and then our identical triplets home. The house that sheltered us when his mother died and then his brother. The house where we hit our stride as parents, planted roots for our family and developed friendships that will last a lifetime. They say “you can’t take it with you” but, when we left that house, we did. We packed everything.
We did our best and dutifully tried to leave a few things behind – we gave to GoodWill. We gave to Big Brothers, Big Sisters. We even had a yard sale but since it was on a rainy, brisk fall day, there were few takers. So, we took a LOT with us – things we now know, we should have left behind…
Things like sets of placemats for four. (We are a family of seven.) Our oldest son’s personalized rocking horse that someone sent when he was born. (He is entering 4th grade and not really a rocker in that way!) Outlet covers. (Really? Shouldn’t our kids know by now not to stick their fingers in outlets?!) Sippy cups. (Again, a phase that has past.) Murphy’s dog collar. (He died in 2008). Finnegan’s puppy collar (he is almost nine!). And then, the books. We believe that books are truly treasures but when we rediscovered some of the classics that had been in storage since the fall, we had to laugh – and purge. Here are a few good examples:
- Getting a Financial Life. Personal finance in your 20s and 30s. (We are in our 40s and I’m pretty sure there is no hope for us ever having a so-called “financial life!”)
- Metro Dog: A guide to raising your dog in the city. (See prior reference to Finnegan, age 9. Oh, and the fact that we moved to the ‘burbs 8 years ago!)
- Preparing for Multiples (A book that was my bible while those three babes were in my belly but really, there is no “preparing” for multiples!)
- Let’s Go France 1999 and, in the same spirit, Sydney 2001. (Yes indeed, those were the glory days but they were long long ago… and, by the way, isn’t there an app for that?!)
We were only in that rental for eight months and are just now settling into our “forever” house. It’s amazing the wisdom a few months can bring in this circle of life and process of parenthood. In a matter of mere months, our preschoolers are ready for kindergarten and our daughter is a second grader looking forward to showing them the grammar school ropes. Our oldest son is moving up to middle school and looking forward to playing the drums this fall. The drums! Which leads me to wonder, what we will leave behind when we move on from this house? My guess? Not much.
I suspect I will pack finger paint pictures and handmade ceramics so I have a piece of the kids with me when they move us out to our retirement home… but I’m pretty sure I’ll be ok with leaving Liam’s first drumsticks behind. Just like that rocking horse!