I am well-practiced in the rituals of moving house. I tend to belabor the process with emotional exertion. As every item in my home is sorted, the evidence of failures form into piles. A deluge of procrastinated tasks is released from drawers and closets. Just as each of my four moves in the last five years, my most recent move required me to confront an overwhelming mass of unmet expectations by the last day of the month.
The stain. I got it out. A bleach pen, applied three times, removed the mysterious red stain from the wood floor of the kids’ bedroom. Why don’t I know what stained the floor? Why didn’t I try to remove the stain months ago? Will I never learn to deal with messes right away? Two pangs of guilt, one sting of self-doubt, one relief at victory.
The embroidery floss. For the cross-stitch hobby I never started. The kids kept taking it and tangling it up, because they don’t respect my things. I threw it all out. Even the good ones. A week later, I saw embroidery floss on the list of solicited donations to the kids’ school. That’s four layers of guilt, if you weren’t counting.
The box of summer clothes. The week before the move, a storage box of summer clothes was discovered in the basement, underneath a cobwebbed box of sports gear. The kids’ clothes fit them, despite having been meant for use last summer. Mine are too small for me. With the revelation of the box came one half-dose of guilt for the accidental misplacement, a double rush of fun for two kids’ wardrobe enhancements, and a complex discomfort with my body weight.
The gifts I didn’t mail. In other words: a perpetuated to-do list indulging a delusion. I already spent time, energy and money on the photo matching games for my nieces, 16 months ago. I’m going to mail them. Really. Next week.
The rug. It was a holdover rug, a cheap and temporary solution. I liked it at first, but soon after I realized it wasn’t right for the space, and I hated it more each day. After 18 months in my living room, it had been destroyed by my apparent negligence. I thought adulthood would include more of investing in timeless wool Persian rugs, and less of assuring visitors that spot on the rug is chocolate, not poop. A rug of disappointments: at my feet then, and at the dump now.
I’m taking my things too seriously. I’m not being grateful enough that I had a rug in the first place, or that I have children who break and stain and wear things because they live with me. I do that sometimes; I take myself too seriously and I forget to let the gratitude edge out the disappointment. It’s all part of the process, though. It’s the same process each time: purge, wrap up, transport, reorganize. Yoga words echo in my mind, Let go of what no longer serves you. The guilt, the anger, and the disappointment don’t need to be unpacked in my new house.
I’m moving forward, I hope. I hope.