I have been concentrating on NOT panicking today. These are my last few weeks in this house. I remind myself that it is no longer mine. I can feel my heart racing and chaos threatening, but I take a deep breath and I count softly until the feeling passes, and then I am fine. I did not accomplish much in my office today. I was paralyzed. Any energy I had was devoted to managing my anxiety. I had to remind myself that I really wasn't all that attached to the house. It was a staging area, a place to refuel between work and running after children and traveling by planes, trains, automobiles and buses; to New York and DC and Canada and California and Salt Lake and Paris and Rome and Ecuador and many other destinations. I enjoyed entertaining in the house; I loved dinner parties and friends and family visiting and children sleeping over.
Maya will miss the house. It is the only home she remembers. Often, when I am eager to go out for the afternoon or evening, she will express the wish to stay at home and play in her fort outside or with a board game or read a book. The house is full of wonderful spaces for her to create stories and imagine. She likes to sleep with her friends in Tara's space, which is an open and airy renovated attic; they can close the door and be in another world.
Tara does not like Baltimore and prefers to stay in New York. She does not consider it her home here. When I asked her to help with the house to get it organized for the move, she reminded me that it was not her home and that she had moved away two years ago and had no interest in dismantling it. Eric packed up her belongings in boxes last week and tore down all her wall posters and the room holds little of Tara. Of course the whole house is looking less and less like ours as we remove all personal items.
Eric is a homebody and likes to stay home and work on house projects. However he is not emotionally attached to the house and considers the sale and the move as practical matters. When he was a child his house burned down and his family lost most of their personal belongings. His Evel Knievel doll lost its feet in the fire. So 'things' are less important to him, and the hosue and everything in it are just 'things', which can be replaced. I find it difficult to get rid of papers! When I go through the boxes and boxes of papers, I reminisce and lament the passage of time. I look at photos of my children as babies and toddlers and read the cards they wrote and their drawings and report cards and try not to keep every insignificant item. We have lived in this house for eight years of joy and happiness and sadness and despair and sometimes just boredom and drudgery and the house reflects our lives.
Packing all the bits and pieces of our lives in boxes leaves me feeling bereft, as if I am losing a big chunk of myself. Perhaps this is what I need to do. I will arrive in Quito with a suitcase of clothes, a camera and a computer, and will be unburdened by this past life. I will be starting anew. Perhaps that's as it should be.