My new apartment and I have had a hard time getting used to each other. When we moved in I was sooo surprised at how hard settling in was. I was surprised at how much work it was and how little I seemed to be able to get done. I was grumpy for weeks. I hate being grumpy! But there wasn’t much I could do about it except keep going. Keep trying. Keep working at making this apartment home.
I’d have wild emotional extremes about this place: from “we need to move again next year” to “we could live here forever!” all within an hour’s time. This place just didn’t feel right and worse, I didn’t feel like me. It was especially bad when we unpacked the last box. I unpacked it, stood back ready for the “ahhhh! home!!!” feeling to come…but all that came was queasy uneasiness. Turns out, it’s not as simple as unpacking boxes.
I had this big realization one afternoon. I had had a frantic morning of getting the boys to their summer programs, running into Manhattan for a photo shoot, and then picking up the boys. I was exhausted by 2 o’clock, and so, I took a nap. At this point, our ‘bed’ was still a mattress on the floor, my room was a perpetual mess. Both boys were home from their summer programs, and even though I was alone with them, I decided to go for the nap. Andrew was playing with a building set and Isaac was working with his Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree on the floor next to me while I slept. I slept that sleep where you are mostly asleep, but you are also just aware enough to be listening for the kids. And…it was wonderful. It was the first time that I felt like this place was meeting MY needs…instead of me just meeting it’s needs. Instead of cleaning it’s kitchen and sweeping it’s floors and organizing it’s rooms…it was giving me a place to rest. It reminded me that I find support in my home. I like having a nice home because it feels supportive to me. I’m a homebody…and being a homebody means my home is pretty important.
I feel like I keep saying this, but: things are coming together. I probably said that the first week: things are coming together! we have hot water and internet! and two weeks in: things are coming together! all the boxes are unpacked! and one month in: things are coming together! we have a bed and a couch! But now I feel it more than ever. And the further we get along the “coming together!” spectrum, the more it’s about smaller and smaller things. Things are coming together because the new rug arrived, which helped me finalize the furniture placement in the living room. Things are coming together because that little spot the painters missed in the boys’ bathroom, is now painted (thanks Dave!). Things are coming together because now I have a yellow mum sitting on the table of my patio. The light switches no longer have grime around the tiny words ‘on’ and ‘off’, thanks to an old toothbrush and some elbow grease. The calendar is hung in the office, giving us all a more grounded sense of time (especially for me and Isaac…the calendar lovers) and the plant light in the kitchen comes on automatically in the very early morning, making walking into the early morning kitchen feel sort of nice.
There are still things I want to do (of course!), but they are not things that are standing in the way of making this apartment feel like home. It feels like home now. It feels like a place I can come to after a day out romping. It feels like a place I can hang out in, in my jammies, on Saturday mornings. It feels like a place I can buckle down on all the work I have piled up from my busy summer. It’s home.
and that’s a huge relief!
Earlier today as I was putting together this zucchini bread, I was thinking about the moves that I moved when I was a kid. They were not nearly this hard for me. And then I realized that as a kid, it wasn’t up to me to make each new place home. I had an expert home-maker in charge of that. Thanks Mom, for cushioning the blow so effortlessly for me. I can barely remember the ‘settling in’ time in our homes because you were a master settler. I didn’t appreciate it then. I sure do now!