Books and Choices Left Behind

On the theme of moving, and what we bring with us.

I have decided that there is never enough time to prepare for a move. This is not news to most of us. But so much time was spent evaluating the importance of our material belongings. And I want a do over. I want another go please. I want to stand in front of all the things I thought were worth bringing, knowing I would have to reduce further, and I want to be granted the time to go through it all and decide what really really doesn’t need to come. And I want my table back dammit!

At the time of packing, I was not intending to store anything. So I shed a lot of furniture. And I shed a few things that I would have held on to if I had known that I would end up at the last minute storing a load of things. But that is the way of starting over. There is Loss to be Processed. And if loss is going to be objectified in the form of one table and 2 end tables, then I have no choice now but to face that loss and heal. Or mourn. Because mourning is something I have not done. I guess I fought for so long for our life to be different, that I am not sorry for leaving it behind. But I spent 6 years creating that home, basically fortifying our lives with a layer of belongings. And in a very short period of time, I tore it all down. But I always said I was doing what I could to make our life good and well lived in the now. It is not the place that I miss, not the city, but the life. I miss Our Home. I miss our people. I miss for the sake of our son, the feeling of belonging that I know he is missing now. Because starting over is hard. It takes time to root again. And that is why having our most special Things with us is important. Because if we can’t have our best friends by our side, we can at least have familiarity.

It felt like I didn’t have enough time in the day or in the plan to really properly prepare for this move. There was a necessary urgency to it. But I did have time. And that was a blessing. Because it was more than just packing for a move across town. It was a dismanteling of a life time. Of 6 years in one home, 10 in one town. I didn’t rush at first. I faced corners where things had been shoved because I didn’t want to face them at the time. Easily ignored under the bags of hoarded craft supplies were the evidence of a nightmare. And I finally forced myself to look those shadows in the eye. I gave myself the time to really process what I was about to do, what I was facing and what I was leaving behind.

But at some point, all too soon, time started to run out. Moving day was fast approaching. And the necessity to shed belongings was more and more apparent. I gave myself over to this task when time allowed. Usually at night, after my boy was fast asleep. Or on a rare day off and alone. Time was not my own. I had so many tasks to work through on my own. This doesn’t mean I was always alone. I had to remember to fairly share my energies around when and where they were called for. But there was a big job on hand and no one else could really do it. Even if they wanted to help, it was my chore. So corner by corner, shelf by shelf, I sorted and worked through the vast stock piling of material things that we, a child and I, had managed to gather to us. Our Stuff. That is what all of this was. And a lot of it suddenly didn’t look at all important or special any more. The To Go pile became a corner of every room. The local Sally Ann did very well for itself. After years and years of my gathering things that called to my eye and occasionally my heart. It all went back, with friends. And damn but that felt good. I can be proud of the givng that I did at that time. Pay it down or repaying what I was already given, I am not sure. Perhaps both. The spirit of that shedding was in good form.

Then, then the real work started. Packing the things to come along for the journey into new life. Space was limited. I didn’t even consider weight, much to my regret. Precious things were wrapped, special things put aside. Boxes began to pile up and take over what had once been our comfortable and sacred space. Our home began to look like something less than homey. But it was all with good purpose. To move. To find a new and hopefully better life. To rip free from a time in our lives. To Go. To start over.

And go we did. Not without sorrow, not without regret, and not with all of the things we so carefully and purposefully decided would be coming with us. With something less than choice and control, 7 boxes and a few straggling special momentos were left behind. In good and dear hands, but still, left behind.

Which has brought me to a wish. That I had more time. A second round of time for packing and discerning. If I were to have stood in an empty hall with all of the things in those boxes and the boxes brought with us, with the choice and purpose to pare down yet again, what would I have chosen to keep? What would I have deemed most important? And is my aching and longing for those boxes of things because I Really Need them, or because they are Mine and I am holding on to some sentimental sense of loss? Am I ready to admit I miss a few things about that time and place? Because it is ok, I am deciding. It is ok to admit I miss those hills, and many of those faces. It does not negate the purpose. It does not mean I was wrong. What it does actually mean

What ever the reason, I know I need those things in my possession soon. I need to go through them and decide what they are worth. But, are they worth the cost of shipping? Or should I just decide to let some of it go? Can I make that kind of decision blindly? I can tell you this, if I had to do it over, I would fight for my right to repack some of these things. Staring at a closet of boxes and bins before me, I can say this, some of these toys haven’t been looked at in 2 months. But it was the reasoning behind why I said “Those are his toys, they are coming with us!” when perhaps I could have said “I want my books dammit!” When we finally have our own home and space to unpack and move into, will these things before us be rejoiced over? They had better be, because I feel the absense of those books and treasures left behind like a hole in my life.

Is this just me not yet over that decade left behind? Or is this an authentic and worthy longing?

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