Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cake crumbs on the kitchen floor

Published on KSL.com (click HERE for the link)

A brief 19 months after we had purchased our first home, my husband was transferred and we had to sell the house and move. After everything in the house had been packed and cleaned, I swept the kitchen floor one last time and was flooded with memories.

My toddler had taken her first steps and dropped an entire carton of eggs on that floor. We have a picture of our second baby asleep in his car seat on the kitchen table, surrounded by flowers and balloons that had come home with him from the hospital. I had paced that floor comforting my colicky baby for more hours than I care to remember, fed countless friends and family members around that table, and was in the kitchen when I found out we were moving.

So even though I had already done plenty of packing and cleaning, it wasn’t until I was sweeping my kitchen floor for the last time that I cried.

Not that there was much to the house itself — we had lived there for close to a year without air conditioning until we could afford to have it installed — but we had created memories there, so it was difficult to leave.

Thirteen years and five moves later, I’ve discovered that it never gets easier.

Once I’ve swept my old kitchen for the last time and moved into the new one, we inevitably hit a rough patch. I feel invisible in my new neighborhood, the kids come home from school demanding that we move back to where their real friends live, and I always manage to get in the car to drive to the post office or library only to realize that I have no idea where it is.

But then one day I find myself sweeping birthday cake crumbs or Legos or glitter from off the new kitchen floor and understand that we’re beginning to create memories, to feel at home even.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, (http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/mobility_of_the_population/cb11-91.html), “In 2010, 37.5 million people 1 year and older changed residences in the U.S. within the past year.”

Those numbers — combined with the fact that moving can be one of the most stress-producing experiences a family faces (http://www.aacap.org/galleries/FactsForFamilies/14_children_and_family_moves.pdf) — suggest that millions of people every year hit some rough patches. They are likely missing the people and places they left behind, feeling invisible in their new neighborhoods and maybe even getting lost.

Since July is the biggest moving month of the year, my guess is there are at least a few moms out there who have recently cried while sweeping their kitchen floors for the last time.

My latest move was a few weeks ago. We had been renting a house I didn’t particularly like until we found a home in the same area to buy, so I didn’t feel sad as I was packing and cleaning. My kids would still have their friends and I would still know where the post office was.

But then I walked into the kitchen.

My oldest daughter had proudly presented me with her driver’s permit and my son had cleaned out my entire food supply after football games and track meets in that kitchen. Hours of spelling and math homework had been completed, and my baby had blown out the five candles on his Mario birthday cake at the table. And I was in that kitchen when I found out that our offer on the house had been accepted.

So even though I had already done plenty of packing and cleaning, it wasn’t until I was sweeping my kitchen floor for the last time that I cried.

We have a birthday party at our new house next week. I welcome the cake crumbs that will end up on my kitchen floor.

1 comment:

  1. Somehow I missed this post until today. Beautiful. You got me crying, too.

    ReplyDelete