I recently had the privilege of moving my Mother into her new home. It was hard. The home she was leaving had been the family home where gatherings had been celebrated and reunions enjoyed for over 58 years. All four of my siblings had been brought from the hospital to our home. (Except Jeffrey who had to stay at the grandparents with Mom as the other three of us had the flu.).
Kirk and I arrived on Tuesday. Mom had been cleaning out closets and drawers slowly over the last year preparing for the move. Kirk and I sat Mom on a chair and placed the first box on a stool in the middle of the kitchen. We handed plates and dishes down. She told us about each one. Where it came from; Great Aunt Doris, Mrs. Mechwart, Grandma Sanders, her Mother. Each piece held a wonderful memory, and as she lovingly wrapped and placed each piece in a box we realized how lucky we were to share in these moments. Many of the other boxes held a plethora of historical papers and pictures documenting a family’s story. We moved throughout the house, each corner held a new memory. We laughed about how the brothers had memorized how many steps in the entry way and back the hall it took so you could come in late at night. Or the moments when you thought you had made it but heard a voice from the darkness, “Wendy, we’ll talk in the morning.” Then there’s the wall by the fridge that held markings for the various heights of the kids and grandkids and great grandkids. Or the shed where Dad would paint with the grandkids.
On Friday Mom signed the papers and moved into the new condo. It was smaller but cozy. We had the kitchen completely set up by that evening. Kirk moved several smaller pieces into the house and we watched as the memories moved with her into her new home. On Saturday my brothers and nephew Matt showed up to move the heavier pieces. Two truckloads full and she was in. Ali and Nick showed up to help move and assist with furniture placement. Maddie, Emily and the kids gave the place a feeling of home. The cherished crystal and glass pieces were in the antique cupboard. Drapes were hung, washer and dryer delivered. By Saturday night the house looked like she’d lived there for a long time.
People asked if I was okay with the move. I said yes. The house had gotten to be too much. The yard work overwhelming. As I looked around her new home I realized that the building is not the family, the people are the family. Wherever my Mom is, that’s my home. Wherever we gather as a family, that’s my home. And as hard as the move was, it was a privilege to be a part of this new adventure in my Mother's life.