To My Daughter on Moving Day

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It’s our last night in your first home. And I wasn’t ready yet.

We are moving because we have to. Financially, it makes sense. Due to a series of unfortunate events in our lives, our bank accounts have dwindled to nearly nothing. It’s a situation I never thought I would find myself in. But with the real estate market on our side, we stand a chance to recover some of our losses. So here we are.

We have to say goodbye to our first home as a married couple, and your first home as our precious child.

moving

This is the home where your dad and I “quarantined” on unemployment for months during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that togetherness actually forms a happy memory, despite it being the beginning of our woes. This is the home where your dad perfected his homemade latte. Where I had hoped our two cats would grow old and spend their final days. Where he surprised me with my first piano of my own. The home of many neighborhood walks making friends with all the neighborhood pets and knowing them by name. The home with the patio where we sat on cool summer evenings cooking over the fire pit that we received as a wedding gift.

This is the home we brought you to from the hospital. We pulled up and clambered out in a haze of new-parent bliss, with you so tiny in your car seat. While your grandma snapped photos, we stood delighted by the balloons and flowers lovingly placed by her and your aunts. This is the home that you always smiled to arrive back to after an outing. Our little introvert baby. The home of your first room with the historic stained glass window, where I prepared for you all the things you needed, and where we rocked for hours in the nursery chair so you could nap. The home where you tasted solid foods for the first time, gagging hilariously when you sampled green beans. Where you learned to sleep in your own crib, becoming as your dad says, our “grown-up baby.”

Change has never been easy or welcome for me.

I am very sentimental. Letting go of all the memories of our beautiful home is hard for me. But things are just things after all, and they can be replaced. The most precious gift is you, little one, and the most important thing to preserve in our hard times is our family.

There is a Buddhist teaching about the importance of not attaching yourself too tightly to anything. Being attached too tightly can become bondage. Leaving our home calls this to mind, and reminds me, as a Christian, of the teaching of Jesus when he calls us to store up our treasures in heaven rather than on earth. Looking back on my life, I can see that through all my mistakes and wasted time storing treasures in the wrong places, the only truly good thing I’ve ever done, my daughter, was giving birth to you.

And so we will move, and we will move on; we will learn to adapt. I’ll give anything for you, my love.

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