One moment I'm sweeping up the last of the dirt we'll ever track in, marveling at how the old house expanded as we emptied a decade of ourselves onto an 18-wheeler. The next moment, I'm unbuckling my baby in a driveway nine states away. I'm explaining to my two year old that this is the new house we've talked so much about. This is where we live.
But I suspect neither of us believe it. I unpack the sheets and make the beds, half wondering whether we will wake up tomorrow under the shadow of the old familiar oak and recount the bizarre dream we had about bubble wrap and sleeping bags.
But this is real. As real as the two hour back-up on the GW bridge and the blowout diaper at the Walt Whitman Plaza. This is where we live.
Our new neighbors across and beside say things like "welcome" and "what brings you to Maine?" One remarks that the daughter squirming in my arms, fat faced and five months, could live here for the rest of her life and still be considered "from away." We laugh as he reveals he's in that very boat. We all try on the label, and I'm not a bit surprised at how well it fits.
I divide my stares between the box of dishes and the window. I scan the streets for strollers, plotting how I'll coincidentally check the mailbox at the first sighting of a neighborhood mother. I call my sister, then my mother. "I love this house," I say. "But I don't know where to start."
So where's the parade? I wonder. Parking seemed too easy. Are we in the right place? Caed hides behind a tree and giggles. His daddy chases. I stay with Dani's stroller to keep her rolling back and forth. She stretches and squirms and fades.
The parade might have lasted five minutes. Six minutes tops. I'm a mess. I completely lost it when the high school band marched by in patriotic harmony. This is our town. We live here now. I brush off hopeful tears, trying to hide my crazy lady look from the strangers who surround me.
Every stride, every lifting forward of the foot feels the same. Legs swing in the same cadence whether off a cliff or down a familiar path. It's why, when we drove forever away from our first home, it seemed like we were just running out to get milk. One ginger, wobbling, ordinary step after another, and there we were, dangling over the heights of our new life.
We take baby steps into brand new places. And before we know it, we've made it home.
I realize I'm kicking this series off on the serious side, but please don't let my pining melancholic voice dissuade you from posting pictures of yourselves with big hair and a mono-brow.
So, here's the deal:
1) Enter the permalink to your specific Flashback Friday post (as opposed to your main blog address).
2) You can link up an old post or write a new one. You can post pictures, share a short memory, a funny story or a tearjerker. You can get reflective or creative or jiggy with it. The only requirement is that you take us back in time a little bit.
3) Within your post, try to include a link back here so your readers can discover the joy that is and will be Flashback Friday.