Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Home Sweet Home


We are in our new house, and it feels really, really good.

Moving was a trial, and a few times I thought I'd be crushed under the weight of our junk, of both the physical and emotional nature.

When I went to the shed where I'd stored Jack's  Legos, complete with original boxes and directions, I discovered they were covered with ants and ant larvae. Teeming waves of black covered every box, inside and out. I was so angry and defeated. "How much, Oh Lord, How much?" I groaned as I spread everything in the yard and started clean up. Then I saw the mouse droppings. Really???

Around me, neighborhood kids played and squealed, enjoying the last days of summer, and hot tears sprang into my eyes as I thought ALL OF THIS -- this move, this day, this life--- should not be going down this way!

Yet it is.

It took 8 movers 10 hours to load and unload our stuff, even though I thought I'd done a lot of culling beforehand.  That's a lot of junk. I found I was much more willing to let go of things on a steamy moving day than I had been just a few months ago. So I started piling stuff in the carport to get rid of. And I just let myself be led. Because pages of Jack's doodles might look junky to someone else but are important to me, while some wedding presents, or an uncomfortable chair, barely used these last 17 years, were better off going to new homes.

There is something about this new house that feels gracious and good.

I'm not sure what it is. It's not much different from our old one, with the exception of a massive master bedroom and bathroom. Was there a lot of frolicking and cavorting going on in master suites toward the end of the Carter administration when this house was built? Because these rooms are JUMBO.

The main living areas are smaller, cozier, and situated pretty much exactly like the old house, so I was able to quickly figure out where to place things. Old me would have relished the challenge of a new floor plan. Anna 2.0 was just glad that the paint colors were non-offensive and I didn't have too many decisions to make. I do hope I'll have some small projects to share with you in the months to come.

I worked round the clock emptying boxes even as my shoulders ached. This is the kind of work I like. Sorting, organizing, beating a stack of boxes into submission. Seeing tangible progress. Moving things here and there and back again.

The spiritual, emotional work comes less readily, and is easy to avoid it under an armload of boxes or yet another "quick trip" to Home Depot.

That is the work that says: Today is the first day of school. Today is the day I should have become a high school mom. In just a few days Margaret will outlive her older brother. How does that feel? What do I do with that? How do we integrate Jack into our new home? Did I run away from our old house? Will I be able to write a book that in some way captures what all of this is like?

The spiritual work follows me as I assure Margaret I will spend much of the day praying for her, and then she asks me, "Do you do that every first day of school?" "Yes." An unasked follow-up question hangs in the air between us, "Did you do it two years ago?" And I think of the mysterious nature of God, because of course I prayed for them both. For their health. And their safety. And their friendships. And their growth.

The mystery follows us outside when we take our traditional First Day of School pictures on the stoop, our new front stoop, and an enormous praying mantis is in Jack's space to the side of the door, right where he would be standing, and I smile and wonder about this crazy life. Praying mantis. Praying. Yes, there will be lots of prayers for this little girl today. And some will be answered the way we want while others may not.

This blog is the place where I do a lot of the emotional and spiritual work. It has been tough to be away from it and from you. But the boxes are now broken down, I can find my devotional books and most of my underwear, and I'm enjoying the calm, peaceful setting and being here with you.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Anna. I pray for your family everyday.

Karen L. said...

Have been praying for your move, knowing the physical work, since we've moved a lot, and empathizing with the emotional part of it, too. Will continue to pray for the blooming of you all in this new patch of land! Despite the bugs and varmints you dealt with, I'm glad and thankful that you're also seeing His personal hand in the move, too.

Laura said...

Thank you for taking the time to post an update. Your sweet family has been in my thoughts each day ~ and is forever in my prayers. xoxo

Lucy said...

What a lovely, heartfelt post. I have missed you and thought of you often over the past few days. Sending much love to you in your new home.

Jaimi Franus said...

We've never met, nor will we likely ever....but know there are prayers being sent up for your sweet, loving family. Wishing this move brings a grace yet thought of.

Jaimi Franus said...

Prayers are being sent up for your sweet family daily. We've never met, nor will we ever likely meet. Doesn't matter. Wishing and praying for a grace yet thought of in this move :)

Sherri Newman said...

Finally, a reason to smile. I am so happy that the move is going well. This is definitely a bit more than a baby step. One of those moments when we look to the sky and say "Thank you!" XOXO Sherri

Sherri Newman said...

Finally, a reason to smile. I am so happy that the move is going well. This is definitely a bit more than a baby step. One of those moments when we look to the sky and say "Thank you!" XOXO Sherri

Michele said...

I've thought of you a lot seeing all of my Fairfax County friends putting their first day of school pictures up on Facebook. I know there must be an extra sting there. Wishing you peace and love, healthy and safety in your new home.

Anonymous said...

More prayers from another stranger. I'm not sure how I came upon your blog but think of you and pray for your family - especially this week. I too have a beautiful, dark haired, son named Jack that started HS today. I credit you for my extra stores of patience with him as he traverses his teen years.

Jamie Reese said...

Prayers for you as you move through this difficult week ❤

Kelly Pack said...

so happy to see a new post. I'm glad you're enjoying your new digs. can't wait to hear more. xo

Diana Lesjak said...

Happy to hear from you! Prayers for you and your family in your new home~ everything will be fine because Home Is Where The Heart is... everyones heart. I wish you nothing but love...

Anonymous said...

Anna how can you be so eloquent? I am so jealous of your talent and can't wait to read your book. So glad you are enjoying your new home. I will also pray for Margaret on the first day of school.

kara aka spedhead

Christian said...

MIssed your writing while you were away. Thinking of you this day. Thanks for sharing your grace with us, as always.

Robin @ Farewell, Stranger said...

I'm so glad, Anna. Reading this I realized I'd been holding on to some anxiety for you related to this move (not helpful, I know) and I'm thrilled you're feeling good about your new home.

Anonymous said...

You've been working hard on every level, so I hope you can enjoy a well-earned rest. I hope you feel very proud of yourself for all that hard work, physical, emotional, and spiritual. You have an important milestone coming up with Margaret growing older than Jack. I don't know if you already kind of know how that will feel for you, but that has to be on your mind a lot. Great photos of Miss Margaret and Tim, and the bird pillows.

susan said...

Anna, I love your bravery and your tender heart. You have a way with words such that I feel I am there along side you in your journey. Thank your for sharing your life with us! xx
Susan
www.thesimplystated.blogspot.com

Catherin said...

All I can think about as I read your words, is that I wish I knew you in person. I want to sit with you, and talk, write, share. I want to walk with you, pray with you---you inspire me.
I hold my son tighter because of you.
Thank you.

Michelle DeRusha said...

Welcome home, sweet friend.

Stumbling Towards Perfect said...

Welcome Home. Know that my prayers for you and your family never cease.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

"In just a few days Margaret will outlive her older brother.
The tears started flowing as soon as I read this line. Holding you in light and space tonight.

IrishRN07 said...

Tearing up with sadness and joy. Prayers for peace, love and strength. xoxo
PS: You love to sort and organize? After you finish the book you should start a business and I will be your first client!

-Maureen

Stimey said...

I am so glad your move is good. I'm very happy for you. I've been thinking about your family. Know that you always have my love and that I am wishing you the best that you get through this so hard part of the year and that you fall a little more in love with your new house every day.

claire plante said...

Calm, peaceful, gracious and good. Those are wonderful words to read as you describe your new home! I'm so glad to hear you are settled. I hope Margaret had a great first day today. I was thinking of you all morning, knowing the milestones that are occurring today and this week.

Lots of love,
Claire

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

I am really happy for you and your family, anna. i wish you all the best in this home. and sending prayers as well.

Ellen aka Ellie said...

Ants and Lego? So odd? Perhaps they were drawn to the cardboard glue?

So glad your move went well. I continue to think of you daily--more than that, really.

Giggled at the reaction Your Jack would have had to the mantis in his place...

kate said...

This was lovely. Welcome home!

Elaine Alguire said...

Thinking of you as you are settling into your new home. Prayers for an easy transition.

tracy@sellabitmum said...

I've been thinking about you. xoxo

Michelle said...

Dear Anna, I'm so glad the move is going well. Keeping you in my prayers, especially over the next few days. Much love to you.

A Speckled Trout said...

I think I was anxious for you, too, this weekend. I certainly was not fun to live with and then when I read this I felt a huge weight lifted.

My husband and I came across a praying mantis in the parking lot of Lowe's. He found a coffee cup in the trash and we transported it home for the garden so it wouldn't get smooshed.

My priest friend says nature is the beat of life and if you pay attention you'll always feel the beat. Your praying mantis was no accident.

xoxo

Kathy at kissing the frog said...

Congratulations on your new home, Anna. I've often wondered how I would feel leaving the house where Joey died. I'm sure you will find a wonderful way to incorporate Jack into your new home. I can't wait to read how you do it. Hugs to you, and good luck to Margaret on her new school year. xoxo

Tatiana Hedley said...

As always, thinking of all of you, even though I've only ever commented a couple of times. I carry you in my thoughts and in my heart. There are nights I lie in bed feeling the sadness and wishing you could "just have him back".

I don't have kids, but I enjoy everyone's pictures of their children on "Back to School" day, and on the other hand, thoughts of Jack.

This morning a 14 year old girl was killed by a dump truck in front of the highschool she was attending for the first time, she was starting grade 9 (in Canada). Tomorrow was supposed to be her 15th birthday. She had a 90% average in school. All I could think about was you guys and what her family is and will be going through as of today.

Just too much. But, I am happy to read that you feel good in the new house. That is awesome :)

Meredith Self said...

I love reading your posts. Thank you for sharing.

I don't know how you are getting through the boxes. I am not. I am weighed by the organizing and happy to do the spiritual work. Funny. Maybe we can trade. :)

Sooooo thinking of you, Margs, Jack, Tim this week.

Love you!

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

thinking of you all during this week, blessings, peace and strength

Recovering Church Lady said...

Anna, I've missed you and wondered how the big change was effecting another big change. A new home sounds like a good and healthy thing, I pray blessing on this first month of school. love you my friend.
Susie

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

Glad to hear that you are "settled" in your new home. Wishing Margaret all the best this school year!

Martha Brettschneider said...

Welcome home, Anna. Sounds like you've found just where you're supposed to be.

Laura O'Rourke said...

Oh, moving is tough in the best of circumstances. I am grateful that this seems to be a good new home for you and I hope there are many blessings awaiting you there.

Christine R said...

Beautiful post, Anna. Love you. xoxo

Deb said...

Bless your sweet heart and much love in your new home!

Peg said...

glad you are there and settled. Hope you guys continue to enjoy the new move and all the "new" things this change entails.

Anonymous said...

SO I saw my first praying mantis in about 20 years (a GIGANTIC one) on the sidewalk in a very urban area of Arlington on Saturday. I took an iphone photo. I came and showed my husband and he was as amazed as me. I hear they are good luck.

I am so happy that you are happy with the new house. Here's to creating many more great memories and a fantastic school year for Margaret!

NoVa mom Jen

Melissa Dale said...

Anna- you are loved. By God, by your family, by your friends and by those of us who read your blog. I wish you much happiness and joy and lots of wonderful memories in your new home. Love, Melissa Dale

Jennifer Ketterhagen - Finding Joy and Sharing Beauty said...

Oh Anna, the constant dagger of the grief you bear, with reminders of your sweet Jack and where he would be right now everywhere. I wish we could all somehow split up the burden of your grief and lessen your load. You are a strong, kind, amazing woman. Thank you for sharing your world with us. Sending so much love and prayers to your family.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I can't wait to see the new house! And I've been thinking about you constantly - I know this is and always will be a hard week...

Eliza said...

So glad to hear from you, Anna.. have been checking almost daily. I am happy to hear y'all are settling into the new house and Margaret is off to school, a new year of growing and learning and challenges, and how lucky she is to have a momma like you by her side to guide her. Have a wonderful day today. <3

Tonya said...

Wishing you all the best in your new home. Sounds like you are already very taken by it. (: Can't wait to hear more.

Sherri said...

Glad you posted, sweet Anna. I've missed you. A new home. A new beginning. We hold on dearly to some things of the past and rightly so. They are precious beyond belief. And then God nudges us ever so slightly to move forward, knowing how difficult it is, desiring for us to lean on Him. He is our strength. We are weak. May the Lord bless you in your new home. May Jack's presence be felt in a new way that enriches your being there. May God bless you and keep you. Amen.

Thrift Store Mama said...

I'm glad that this blog is the place for you to do your work. Mine is for me, too.

Mandy said...

Have been thinking and praying for you these last few days. I pray this new house will be a place of blessing for you all. x

Debby@Just Breathe said...

First of all you need to be in the pictures too! I am so sorry about the Lego's. That would have broke my heart. ((HUGS)) Praying for your happiness in each corner of your new home and also praying that Margaret has a wonderful year at school.

Tiffany said...

I am so glad you are getting settled. I think of you and your family often!

Greta @gfunkified said...

I just can't imagine what yesterday was like for you. I was thinking about you and your daughter and your husband.

When my husband died, I tried for one day to stay in our house, and I couldn't. I don't even know if I stayed all night there. I probably was running away, but intense grief does a lot of different things to different people.

I'm glad that you at least have that physical work to keep your mind and muscles occupied.

Keely said...

I can't even begin to imagine the feelings of leaving one home- so fraught with memories- and heading to a new one (and needing to carve out a respectful space for those very memories). Your strength amazes me.

Andrea Mowery said...

Thinking of you as you start these new beginnings, and sending prayers to lift you up during the transition. A feeling of grace is definitely a good start.

heather blair said...

prayers and hugs on this new chapter in your life. hoping it is filled with beautiful blessings for you all.

Kim@Co-Pilot Mom said...

Wishing you all the best as you settle into your new home, Anna.

Katie said...

I've been thinking about you and this move. I'm glad you are feeling good about it.

Loukia said...

Praying for you, Anna. Thinking of you all. I wish you all the very best in your new hone, where you'll forever have your memories, and make new ones. Much love. xoxo

The Empress said...

This is very very good. Thank you, God. xo

Rach said...

I'm glad it's over and done with. Moving sucks. UGH!

Prayers for you. We passed that younger sibling older than older sibling milestone and then into that year and it was tough. I had a lot of totally irrational worries--I couldn't get a five year old to six, could I get THIS one to six? Could I keep her alive to seven?

Stupid. Irrational. But, totally understandable.

I'm so happy you had your visitor on the first day. We did too. :o)

Hugs!

ella said...

I'm praying and thinking of your family often, as always. Glad you're on the other side of the move now and can hopefully have some fun decorating your new home.

Heidi said...

I know I already tweeted this but I have to say it again. What a beautiful, soulful post.
You've been on my mind so much. So much love to you, my friend.

anymommy said...

Houses that feel right are a gift. And so are your beautiful words. Much love always.

Mariah said...

Congrats on the new home!!! Glad you're finding it to be a good transition!

Noah's Mom said...

Thank-you for sharing this beautiful, heartfelt post. I have been anxiously checking the blog to find out how the move was and I am SO happy that your home feels good and right to you. So very sorry and saddened about Jack's Legos, but you handled it. May your new home bring you some joy, great experiences, and a place to create new memories to combine with the old. Jack is always with you, and will find his "place" there to comfort you. Hugs to you and prayers for a great school year for Margaret.

Lady Jennie said...

This cuts deep, and at the same time there is so much beauty and grace in the words and the pictures you paint.

Much love, today and always.

Meg said...

Been thinking of you and glad the new house feels like home. Much joy and peace to you and yours in this new space.

Trl said...

As I climb into bed reflecting on the day, I couldn't help but think of you. I know the anniversary is soon & I just wanted to know that you and your family are being thought of and prayed for from a different state. I grieve for you and me in what we have lost in our children that we have lost. Blessings and peace to you on this September evening.

Marinka said...

No one writes like you do, Anna. I'm so grateful for your words and your grace. xo

EatPlayLove said...

M look so grown up! We thought we would be dramatically downsizing when we put our house on the market 3 years ago, so I purged big time. I look forward to hearing about your new place, it sounds lovely. Run a bath for me, a master suite in a 1962 ranch is anything but sprawling!

Anonymous said...

PS I saw on Facebook that your book is coming out next year and you're also going to be in an anthology. In light of everything, a breezy "congrats!" won't do. I'm not sure what's the best way to put it, but I'm just delighted for you and I know your words will touch many people.

Princess Kate said...

Always thinking and praying for you guys. Will always be here for you all.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you tonight Anna. xoxoxo

BestofSeven said...

Thinking of you and your family this week.

Salvimom said...

Smh. I can never get over how eloquently you write. You are an awesome writer, awesome person, an awesome mom. I'm so glad you've begun another chapter in your journey. You don't know how often I think of you and Jack. This summer, I had a little boy in my 'kindergarten jumpstart' course. He had big intelligent brown eyes, was wearing shirt with a bird on it, and his name is Jack as well. He is everywhere. God bless you and your loving family.

Ury
Seattle, WA

Salvimom said...

Oh yeah, also about the ants. I think according to the Word, they symbolize diligence concerning the things of God. Quite fitting, actually (although I'm sure tedious to deal with!) But your boy definitely encompassed this diligence, as do you. Well, anyway, God Bless you and yours.

Ury

LisaAR said...

And so begins a new life chapter...I pray it is a beautiful one for you and your family. God's blessings to you, Anna.