When I was a little girl, we moved. And I never got over it.
We lived in this small town in New Jersey, one of those places you see in the movies with big trees and gabled homes with shutters, and I rode the bus to school and back with my friends. We had a big backyard with honeysuckles, a neighboring barn, and a tire swing. My dad was the pastor so we lived in the church manse, but at 6 years old it was just my home.
At the time it was just me, my brother and my sister, both younger. My other little brother was born much later. Us three did everything together – forts under our bunk beds, story telling, pretending the sprinkler was a door to a magical world, and reenacting the Christmas nativity scene by wearing dishcloths on our heads. I had friends within walking distance – one of whom is Erika from NAMAmmaSTE.
I’ve told this story before, but one day my parents told us we were moving. My dad was very, very ill with allergies in New Jersey. During summer he’d lay in a purified room with tissues stuffed up his nose and his eyes glowing red. He had another job in Colorado.
I only remember bits and pieces, but I do remember the last person I saw in New Jersey was Erika, and then our friends (who became Kim from Baby Feet’s in laws) saw us off.
It’s been 20 years. You’d think in that amount of time I’d have gotten over it. At the very least not tear up every time I write about it. I used to have dreams so vividly of going back. Walking through my old school. After we moved I kinda fell apart – from grades to friends. Nothing really ever worked out the way it was supposed to for a really long time after that. Like until just a few years ago.
I don’t know why it hit me so hard. I think I’ve probably built it up in my mind, as an 8 year old who goes through their first real move tends to do. I’ve wondered if I’d ever be able to go back and see it again.
Tomorrow, I’m flying back east. Partly for BlogHer Writers next week, but in my heart it’s for the little town in New Jersey. I get to take my daughter with me, and go with Erika and her little boy back to where we grew up for the three years together – where I consider the happiest years of my childhood to have been. I get to see her and her family, chat with her while our kids play and probably throw joint temper tantrums , see my old home, the church, the school, all the places that I remember.
Then I’m off to stay with Kim and finally meet her kids – after hearing them on the phone for over a year and “knowing” them since they were born. Her husband has known my parents for close to 30 years – and my entire life. I can’t wait to squeeze them all and get to spend time with knitting and chatting with Kim.
Then BlogHer in NY, and learn about being published one day.
It’s going to be amazing. I plan on blogging it all as much as I can, because this is a moment I have waited 20 years for. To stand in front of my little, white, two story home in the town that I never stopped loving, with my daughter on my hip and my childhood friend and her son by my side – to cry like I’m 8 again and finally, finally be ok with it all. To let it all go and truly understand that my life is what it is, and I am so happy with it, because of that move.
I can’t wait to see you two. And to talk about all of you guys. Don’t think we won’t – because we so will. All good of course. :p