Month 4: Doo Bop April 22, 2009
Moving Day Approaches April 16, 2009
When I was growing up we moved a lot. Between birth and age 18, I moved no less than 14 times. Mostly we moved because my parents had jobs that required a bit of relocation. Dad was in the military for some of the time and doing ministry work “planting new churches” at other times. I attribute my extroversion as well as my keen sense of hierarchy to having attended 3 different elementary schools.
Because of all this moving, I can’t really pinpoint a house that I “grew up in.” The closest thing I can think of would be my Nana’s house on Old County Road in Severna Park. My mother grew up in that house and my Nana died there about a month after Howie and I married. My mom went into labor with me there…and it was the house I came home to after I was born. I loved that house and all the memories I have from it: helping Nana wrap Christmas presents; weeding the front walk for $5 an hour; walking down to the various beaches with my brother and cousins; innumerable pancake breakfasts; and observing Nana’s keen sense of interior design.
After high school I remained transient. Between freshman and senior year I moved 4 times. Even after college I never really put my feet up. In the 3 years before I met Howie, I moved no less than 10 times. From DC, to San Francisco, to Albany, to Berkeley, to Felton, to Santa Cruz, to Los Angeles and back into my sister Natalie’s house – shocked and needy from the upheaval of my early 20’s. This is why our short time at 3042 Benvenue (aka. welcome street) ends up being the longest time I’ve ever lived anywhere. Exactly 3 years and 9 months of home sweet home.
Another artifact of my constant moving was a distinct lack of nostalgia. I find it easy to throw things away, I forget to call old friends, I lose cherished items like photo books and christmas ornaments. But now that we’re moving I’m trying to be present to my sense of loss. To mark in my mind the life that has happened in this house.
When I was a little girl, maybe 5 or 6, we moved from one of my childhood homes to another. Sensing that I might be sad about what was being left behind my mother wrote and illustrated for me a little book about our move. I’ve lost that book, like so many other important items, and tonight I’m so sad it’s gone.
If I think really hard, one of my first memories is of moving. I am walking through our house in North Carolina. A town house with a red door. All around me are boxes and newspaper and wads of discarded tape. I go out the front door into the moist July heat. It’s dark and past my bedtime. The street lights are on and the black asphalt is totally deserted. I stand in my barefeet and say to myself, “I will never be here again.”
I know that Eliza’s way too young to have a sense of loss about moving away from the house she was born in. But the child in me needs to be told that everything will be okay even though we’re saying goodbye. So, I’d like to take this time to give my personal top 10 experiences in this house. So I can mark the time. So I won’t forget.
1. Birthing Eliza in the back room of our house with Howie and my mom in attendance. My memories of this event are slightly fuzzy, I have to admit. But how can you not include the birth of your first child in your top ten list?
2. Watching TV with Howie. We discovered DVD-tv-show-watching our first year here and started with 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although they say that TV is ruining our minds…I’ve experienced some of the most contented times in my life watching TV on a couch in the arms of my husband.
3. Daimian Holiday Scott’s epic 30th birthday party. With all of our friends we created for Daimian a day of surprises around the theme of the Quest for the Holy Grail. The quest culminated with a moment of group Enya listening that to this day gives me shivers down my spine.
4. Earthquakes. The first one I felt while writing a paper for graduate school in our back room. I thought a Mack truck was driving through the front door and headed straight at me. We felt another one when my mom visited for Christmas in 2006.
5. Being pregnant. Every room of this house has a pregnancy story. From the pee test I took (in our bathroom), to the first time the baby kicked and Howie could see it (in our bedroom), to our multiple efforts at bringing birth on (watching “the Notebook” -weeping and laughing along with my mom, Annie, Elizabeth, and Hannah- and getting accupuncture from Nick in our living room).
6. The Bad Christmas Sweater Party. We hosted one for Andrew and Marcie when their heat was turned off before they left to go back to Portland, Maine. Who can forget the impromptu game of “Ladle of Nog?”
7. Listening to Records. A particularly poignant listening occurred when Eliza’s nursery was still a “lounge.” Tony, Daimian, Howie and I played favorite songs for one another on the record player. Me and Tony grooved on “On the Turning Away” by Pink Floyd.
8. So many visitors. The Wogslands, my niece Hannah, Desaray, Natalie, my brother, Howie’s friends from high school and college.
9. Being insulted inadvertently by my landlord. I remember working on my graduate thesis in the back room when David was fixing something in the bathroom. He leaned in and asked “Ah, Kate, are you Howie’s secretary?”
10. Coming home. Every time we’ve left on a plane and returned to this house I have felt a sense of belonging and home that is unparalleled to any other homecoming in my life.
There’s more I’m sure. Parties and projects and people I’m forgetting. Feel free to remind me in the comments section below.
Pillow Talk April 15, 2009
As we’re getting into bed last night:
Kate (looking down wistfully): “Howie, after I’m done nursing…do you think I can keep these breasts?”
Howie (looking down wistfully): “No Kate, I think it’s like ‘Flowers for Algernon’ when you’re done nursing.”