Saturday, July 11, 2009

What I've Left Behind

It’s been a few months since I’ve moved, and I think I’ve finally settled in, finally feel like it’s home. (The cats seem less traumatized and are settling well, too.) But some days I make myself crazy trying to find things, wondering if it’s something else I’ve left behind. Just this morning, I wanted to look up something in a book, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find it. I tore through piles of books I have scattered throughout my home. No luck. Did I have it at my last residence? Yes. So I know it’s not in storage in my ex’s house. Have I picked up the book since I’ve moved? Yes. So I know it’s not in the boxes of books I have stashed in my closets. When was the last time I read it? I couldn’t remember. Did I take it to work? Is it in my car? Did I throw it in a drawer? I was wasting too much time trying to find it. Time to move on and do something constructive.

Back in 1937, when the original Sloppy Joe’s Bar moved from 268 Greene Street to its current location on Greene and Duval Streets, patrons picked up their glasses and whatever fixtures the could grab and walked down the street to the new location. Business was not disrupted and continued with hardly a blink of an eye. Moving could not be any easier.

Moving is never easy, but the best part is starting with a clean slate, starting over. Finally having a place of my own, to arrange things the way I want to, no one to second guess why I’m doing this or that. I feel like I’ve taken back control I’ve lost over the years. Yes, I like that.

But then I have days I when I discover something I’ve left behind. It’s usually something insignificant like my favorite paring knife, the potato masher, some other kitchen gadget. All that is replaceable. Sometimes I think about the other things I’ve left behind, not replaceable. My childhood home. Before that, being physically a part of my kids’ lives. Leaving was a difficult but necessary decision, and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t feel guilt or heartbreak. We stay in touch via text and phone and email, but I miss the daily closeness and routine. I miss not being able to just reach out and hug my daughter when she’s had a bad day at school, or when she’s sad because the boy she likes dropped her from his MySpace friends list. Or just grabbing and hugging them for no reason at all. I miss the clatter in the kitchen and the clutter and noise that comes with a house full of teenagers. I even miss the nagging about homework, computer time or laundry. I’m missing the arguments about who gets to use the car or whether the things they’re doing to fill their time will enhance their college applications. I hope someday they’ll understand. Meantime I let them know as often as I can that I love them, I have and always will, no matter what.

For your freewrite this week, write about the things or people you’ve left behind. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Don’t stop and don’t censor yourself. Take a deep breath and go deep…