When my kids were little, one of our favorite bedtime books was The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman. I can still recite much of it from memory, maybe they can too; I know my oldest could “read” it well before he could read. But I digress. Point is, that beloved story is foremost on my mind these days as Mr. Bird and I prepare to leave our empty nest and settle into a smaller coop. Or, in our case, condo.
It’s a daunting task, moving. And, perversely, it gets daunting-er the older you get. Dorm-moves? Mostly trash bags and buy the boys some beer. First apartment? Ikea flat packs and the boys still like their beer. New home? Ok, this time we call the professionals–but it’s one small truck and all kinds of excitement. And space, lots and lots of space. Space to grow a family, to buy adult furniture, to fill closets and fulfill dreams. Decades worth. So, at the end of nearly 27 years, the tangibles and intangibles are simply too numerous to name. You pack your real and virtual boxes and pack a huge emotional punch along the way.
That said, and unlike the Birds, this is really it. No deciding to stay after all. The house sold quickly and the new owners are…well, lol, they’re us, 30 years later. That old saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same”? Too true! They are perfect for our young neighborhood, and we wish them nothing but happiness in our/their home.
Today, they are coming by to re-see the house, to take measurements, to have me “walk them through” how everything works. I have prepared lists for them–HVAC to lawn maintenance to snow removal, all the nuts and bolts. For them, I suppose that, not the move, is the daunting thing. But I’d like to think they’re also coming to imagine themselves into their future lives here…
Which kid gets which kid-room? Will they have bath time rituals, and will those rituals include fish stories (fish tiles inspire fish stories, or so we always thought). Will they put in a swing set (do we still call them that!?) and will it go where ours was? Can they see the bus stop across the street? Every morning it’s packed with kids and cars, parents and pets. I still have my first-day photos for K-5; maybe they will do the same.
Will they love the smell of lilacs wafting into the kitchen, the lilacs I specifically planted there because they remind me of MY childhood summers. Do they have a dog, will they get a dog, should I mention the garbage truck guys carry dog biscuits for all the furbabies out walking in the ‘hood.
And for us? Well, the whole thing started even before this seller’s market. We knew we’d outgrown our neighborhood and, to be honest, also our home. While we built it, and still love it, we no longer need all this space and the upkeep it requires. So, we took a deep breath, extended our wings and jumped. We hope we’ve chosen a soft landing. We’ll be just down the road–nearby enough to see friends and frequent favorite places, but new enough to re-invent ourselves to some extent, to test our senior wings in a new lifestyle. The plan is to rent for a couple of years while winding down to final retirement and deciding whether to fully stick around or finally cut the NY area cord. Ultimately, we hope to tweet with Bird-like contentment that we’re well and truly best-nested.