Saturday was a great spring day to open the windows, feel the fresh air and purge. Out with the old and bring on the new! But, before you get the old out, you have to handle it and that is not so great. This week I am putting my house on the market and moving back to Franklin (TN). Thus, the handling of old things is a necessity.
It didn’t start out so bad. I began by doing about 6 loads of laundry and sorting kids clothes between summer clothes, winter storage and yard sale material. Then I had to tackle the master bedroom and that is when it became a little more complicated. Anyone who has sold a house knows that staging a home is very important. That means I needed to remove the personal items that makes the home ours (feels weird to even type that word). Although my exTBD still resides in the house, he has lived upstairs since last August and I have resided in the master bedroom by myself. But today was the first time I had to touch the wedding pictures, family portraits and personal momentos and determine their fate.
Some of it was easy. For instance, the kids pictures are to be divided between us and packed. Same with the family portraits. Now some of you may be thinking why that is important, you are no longer a family. But to Emma and Jacob we are and that is why that is important. Because they will still need to see pictures of Emma, Jacob, Mommy and Daddy as a whole, to know that we love them together and that will never change.
So that leaves the wedding pictures. Gee, divide them up, cut them in half, burn them. Heck no, they cost too much. And besides I look great in that dress! It was a perfect summer day in August. The golf course at the Country Club was so green and the rollings hills & lake in the background made such a perfect backdrop. I remember it like it was yesterday, yet, it seems like a lifetime ago.
As I sit here knowing that creating a better, safer, more peaceful home for my kids is the right thing to do, the tears still flow. I’m not sure what the tears are for exactly. I’m not sure which part I’m grieving. But that is what is happening. I grieve for what was to be and what is not.
It is hard to take apart your home and pack away 10 years of your life. What is harder is having children go through it with you. Because you can’t store it all in a box, hide it in an attic and walk away. You have to live it every day. You have to look at them and remind them that Daddy loves them. You have to talk about the good times with Daddy and where he is and when they will see him next. Especially challenging for a 2 YO who has no concept of time. And you have to do this all with grace, dignity and a smile on your face when all you really want to do is tell them the truth about why Daddy doesn’t live here anymore. But alas you cannot. Not for their sake and not for yours. Because hanging on to the anger or hurt or resentment is not healthy or productive and serves no good.
So yes, it’s hard to take it apart and pack it away. There are moments of tears and sorrow. But I embrace those moments. I allow myself to really feel it all, experience it down to the core. I had the same experience when the kids were in the NICU after they were born. I can not tell you enough how important it is to give yourself permission to grieve, to cry, to regret, and to look back. It is ok in those moments. It is what you are supposed to be doing. You’re supposed to cry when you pack away your life. Holding back or holding on delays the inevitable and ends up creating emotional barriers inside you. You can not control the process. It will come and sooner is better than later.
When the kids were born premature (27 wks) the one thing that I took comfort was discovering that the emotions were normal. On Day 3 I started crying and did not stop for over 24 hours. A NICU nurse told my sister that it was normal on Day 3, she sees it all the times with moms. It is a hazardous combination of insomnia, hormones and emotions, such as: guilt, fear, shock, and anger. When I became frustrated with myself that I could not stop crying, my sister told me what the nurse had said. That didn’t make the crying stop, but it made it bearable knowing that I was going through a normal part of the process.
So, take heart, like I am and cry. Embrace the emotions. Let them wash over you and flow away from you as you release your sorrow, regret and pain for what was to be. Then curl up with a nice glass of wine, some ice cream or chocolate and know that you have taken another step closer to your future in a healthy way.