Moving In

The Next Family

By: Tosha Woronov

I haven’t written in three weeks. Not writing is, for me, akin to not exercising, which I’m not doing either. I am guilty, and weak, too lazy to arrange my scattered thoughts in any succinct way (case in point). And, like avoiding the treadmill for too long, it’s almost impossible to get back on track.

In my defense, I’ve had a lot going on. We just moved. It sucked, as it does for anyone. I tend to make such things really hard, unable to find a safe place within myself. I’m uncomfortable all over and boxes are everywhere. A trip to my new grocery store feels like a visit to another country, like Canada. Depression grips for me at every turn, which means I must tread carefully. It’s like when I’m nauseated and to avoid barfing I keep my jaw clenched tight. I tiptoe around the issues that represent landmines, threatening to blow my quivering sanity to bits. The ex-landlord wants to keep too much of our deposit, the new sink is clogged with – what is that – raw meat? The couch won’t fit through the door. Our dog’s pee is burning the lush and pristine sod. That’s never happened before. It’s all too much. I cower. Shh, shh, don’t move, don’t open the mail, don’t open that box. My husband calls to me from upstairs – he’s reading his email – and all I can ask is, “please, is it more bad news?”

But as we unpack, evidence of our new home – our new life –appears, and I cling to it. I hang a bird feeder, which feels nice, but not until the first finch lands there do I relax a little. I make a space for Leo’s toothbrush in each of the 3 bathrooms, which makes him (surprisingly) happy. I ignore the fact that I can’t find my most important papers and instead plant and hang 3 tomato plants in topsy-turvy containers. I water them and breathe. Rather than rifle through another box marked “office” (my husband seems to have labeled all of the boxes this way, even ones that contain dishes, or his clothes), I walk next door to the elementary school and adjoining ball field where Pete and Leo are playing. I bring the dog, who has adjusted happily already, and sit in the grass of the outfield, marveling at the dusky sky and hawks flying overhead. I light candles. I put vases holding fresh-picked roses on the kitchen windowsill. These things make a difference. I make bruschetta for Pete and we open a bottle of wine. Leo and I walk Charlie around the neighborhood, counting bunnies. It helps to have the cable back on too, which I hate to admit, but the sound of Sports Center provides normalcy as we struggle with the screwdriver, argue a little with each other, and assemble bookshelves.

They are returning, thank god, those parts of me that are grounded and sane.

Our stuff is here, my boys are safe, we’re in the new house.

I’m just trying to find my way home.

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