So the day of the house move finally came, the packers arrived and we saw all our possessions being boxed up and put in the back of a lorry, and there certainly was a lot of stuff. No wonder we hadn’t been able to move in our own house.
Within a day it went from being our place to a collection of empty rooms, devoid of our things. That’s it I thought, onward and upwards. Then a very strange thing happened (and I can feel the emotion rising just writing this) while I was vacuuming the upstairs landing, which effectively is a corridor. I suddenly got a vision of the boys running up and down it laughing, joking and tumbling. It was such a strong image and, for me, so evocative. I remembered lots of different times when, just after bath time particularly, I have sat at the end of the corridor and caught them as they tried to run past. Suddenly our empty house came to life again.
Thinking about this, and I’m as surprised getting emotional about it now as I was at the time, I realised that while we have a lot of memories invested in our belonging, the place that we live in carries so many memories too. I also realised that I had been so focussed on moving to the new place, that I hadn’t really thought about the old place.
After all this was the house where Karen and I moved into after we were married. The house in which we have got to know each other more and more over the six years we were there. The house that we brought Jake and then Sam home to. The house where we struggled with the early weeks and months of parenthood. The house where we found out that Karen was pregnant with Sam. The house where both boys took their first steps, and did so many other things for the first time.
It’s no wonder then that I got emotional at that sudden memory because it was representative of so many other memories, good and bad, over a six year period; possibly the most changeable period of our lives. It felt a little like a bereavement, because for every change there will be a sense of loss; a certain amount of letting go.
I had been so excited and pre-occupied with the move and all the good things that were to come, I forgot to reflect on the things that had gone before and how special they were; I hadn’t realised how much we had invested emotionally in the place that we were now saying goodbye to. In a sense I think that I probably couldn’t have realised this before the house was empty. By taking out all the paraphernalia the house was stripped down and there was nothing except the house to think about, and this leads me to think about the importance of breaking through the clutter sometimes. Perhaps then we can see what’s important.
So leaving our house was a moving experience in more ways than one.