So...we're Virginians now. And check out the sweet welcome basket our three VA boys and their wives had waiting to greet us when we got here.
So on March 18 we closed on our old house, and that same day we left for VA. We each drove a car over to Logan Airport in Boston and left one at my husband's employee parking lot, then got into the other one and drove down together to leave it at one of our son's houses. We got about an hour or two of sleep there, then our boy gave us a ride to the airport in DC, we flew back to Boston to get the other car, and we immediately turned around and made the trip south again, this time staying with another son and his family. Phew! That was pretty tiring, doing back-to-back road trips down the East Coast. At our age, no less. But we survived all of that. Then on March 21, we closed on our new house, and that same day, the moving truck arrived with all of our belongings. To say that it was a whirlwind experience is putting it mildly.
But some of my emotional fragility was caused by the stress of moving (it's a thing, I hear) and sheer exhaustion, I'm sure. Because it didn't take long for my nesting instincts to kick in, and within a couple of days, I was sort of falling in love with our new house. I was enjoying the challenges of figuring out how to fill in all the new spaces and make it really feel like "ours."
When I packed our two cars to the gills with all of the too-precious-to-go-on-the-moving-truck items (like family photographs, letters that my husband wrote to me when he was in college at Notre Dame and I was at Holy Cross, and hand-drawn cards that our boys made for us in grade school), I included some decorative things that I knew I wanted to hang up almost immediately, so that the new place would feel like home as soon as possible. I knew that if I let the movers pack them, it might take weeks to find them amidst the piles of boxes. Among those things we brought in the cars with us were canvases I'd had made from photos of my precious pigs, and the metal star that used to hang on our front door in NH.
While the movers were busy bringing our stuff into the house, my husband heard me hammering nails into the walls. He said that for a second he was surprised, and he wanted to say, "Really? You're hanging pictures NOW?" But then he realized that this is the way I operate, this is what makes me happy. And after all the tears he'd seen me cry in the previous weeks as we prepared to move out of our old house, he just wanted me to be happy. (He's the best, you know. Absolutely the best. Just sayin'.)
So within hours of taking ownership of our new home, we already had a few gallery walls completed.
This one in the kitchen--with my pigs taking center stage.
So we're settling in and starting to get familiar with our surroundings. We like the small, charming Southern town and our friendly new parish. But what we like best is being less than 40 minutes from two of our boys and their families, and about an hour and a half (soon to be more like 50 minutes) from another. We have seen them all so much already--and now we can do this without getting on an airplane! We had all of them over for an Easter brunch, along with a college friend of two of our daughters-in-law, one of my husband's brothers, his wife, and their daughter and son-in-law, and one of my husband's sisters, her daughter, and two of her grandchildren. It is so wonderful to be able to host a big family holiday celebration that doesn't involve people having to travel long distances!
I have to think of a way to finish off this post, which could go on forever and ever, I fear, now that I've finally ended my month-long Internet silence! It's coming to a close soon, I promise...
One of the hardest things about leaving our old house was that our youngest son, who has never lived in any other home and has always been quite attached to that one (as you know already, if you've clicked on that link at the beginning of this post and read what he wrote about it!), is currently stationed in Germany and won't be coming back to the States for good for about a year-and-a-half. Selling his childhood home when he is living so far away, and isn't married yet with a house of his own, seemed like a rather heartless thing to do.
Not long after we moved in, I was coming back from a shopping trip, and as I drove into our new neighborhood I was struck by how pretty it was, with the outline of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. I pulled over and snapped this picture and texted it to him, saying that although I knew it wasn't the same as our old neighborhood, it wasn't too shabby.
Here is the text response my baby sent back.
He is the best. Absolutely the best. Just sayin'. (It's a trait he inherited from his dad. All my boys have it, this best-ness.)
So that's it from the great state of Virginia (which is for Lovers, you know). For now, anyway. And I promise--or perhaps I should say that I hope--it won't be another month before you hear from me again.