We’re in an empty house sleeping on an air mattress pushed into the corner of the living room with Aidan in our reliable old pack ‘n’ play. Jack and Maggie spend their time hiding out in a closet, although Jack roams and occasionally rests on a cardboard scratching pad that Harlan loaded up with catnip and Maggie hauls herself onto our bed to cuddle late at night.
The furniture was supposed to be here a week ago and the delays have become almost comical, except for the fact that my mom flew out to help us unpack and instead sits here twiddling her thumbs and worrying. She’s now extended her trip until Tuesday, but the driver who called me yesterday to say he’d be here either this afternoon or tomorrow morning has gone MIA. (I won’t even go into the Cambridge permit issues that our horrendous moving company, California-New York Express, failed to mention to us. Luckily it looks like I’ve worked things out with the church next door—we live next door to a church!—to park the truck in their driveway, as long as I can get the black BMW parked out front to move. These are the details of my life of the moment.)
Anyway, we’re in limbo in this strange place that we’re now calling home. Harlan and I went out to dinner for our anniversary Thursday night and I found myself crying real tears, my tonsils hard and sore in my throat, and I don’t even know why. I didn’t realize how emotionally wrought I’ve been; I just thought I was drained. We were on the back patio of a really pretty seafood restaurant that reminded us of the Village and the oysters and lobster bisque were good and the wine even better and still the tears, so we began yet another conversation about how sad I am to leave the beautiful home and life we created together in LA. This is surreal to me, living in a strange place where I know no one. Harlan starts going in to the office next week and he may fly back to LA to shoot two days of Mad Men this week. Once my parents go, my sister shows up for Labor Day. Don’t know if I get her to help unpack boxes, but she’s probably good for some help with boo.
What’s comforting is that we have each other. Our air mattress covered with our familiar, white duvet feels like a life raft. The first few nights Aidan was hilariously jet lagged. We’d try to put him to bed at around 7:30 and he’d cry and cry. We were trying to have dinner the second night with my mom and his sobbing was so pathetic, I kept going in to sing to him, nurse him for a few minutes and put him back down. Five minutes later he’d be sobbing again. So, eventually we took him out of bed and let him roam. Harlan took my mom back to her hotel and I brought Aidan into our bed to try to calm him down. No such luck. As Harlan put it, he was like boo on blow. Out of his head, running circles around the entire apartment in the dark, giggling hysterically and babbling. He’d launch himself onto the bed, hold onto one of each of our hands and bounce with a gleeful (possessed?) grin. Eventually at about 10:30, I put him into his crib, which we moved into the dining room next to our bed, and he passed out until about 6:30. I brought him into bed with us and nursed him back to sleep, and he didn’t wake till almost 8.
As he was lying there I was overcome by a rush of love for him, his mouth open, a soft whistling rushing through his parted lips. Maybe because I’m feeling so vulnerable myself I feel especially protective of him. I’ve never imagined loving anything as much as I love Aidan. It’s a bland way to describe a total cliche, but I don’t know what else to say. My attachment to him is fierce, overwhelming. He’s this little person that Harlan and I created—with our love, our determination, our fluids, our DNA.
And here he is. A face more beautiful than anything I’ve seen. A bright spirit and sweet, hilarious, totally original personality. And I am responsible for him. He’s helpless without us and it is our job to make sure he is safe, and he regards us with such trust, love and devotion. It’s instinctual, he has no choice. And we cannot fail him. Running wildly in circles, he sees me, rushes to me, throws his arms around one of my legs and squeezes.
Where did you come from? I ask him all the time. Where did this perfect creature come from?
He’s so happy here. He roams around the apartment, thrilled because it’s circular; he can run around and around the staircase, from the living room through the hallway, through the kitchen, through the dining room and back to the living room where he started. He loves roaming the streets, pointing at the cars, tapping the trash cans, splashing in puddles and digging his fingers into the dirt, picking up the leaves, already yellow and red, and throwing them into the old plastic wheelbarrow he discovered in the yard.
We dragged him cross-country, messed with his internal clock, left his beloved grandparents and babysitter behind, along with all the kids he’s grown up with, and he’s fine. He’s finding new wonders here. He’s okay because he’s with us. He has the stuffed animals he falls asleep with at night and apple sauce and bananas and, most importantly, his father to chase around with his zebra on wheels and his mother to nurse him to drowsiness at night. And because Aidan is content, I know that I will be alright here, too.
Funny thing about blogs and about moving…I wrote this on Sunday and it’s now Wednesday. I probably just should have posted it unfinished but that’s not the kind of writer I am. So, the movers came (at 7pm) and went (at 1:30am!). It was hell. The poor guys who moved our stuff had already done two other deliveries that day and sleepwalked through the proceedings, hauling our 175 items, many very heavy, up porch stairs, into odd-shaped doorways and down minute corridors and stairways. It felt like some macabre Fellini film with cardboard and bleary eyes and Gatorade. And bruised shins and b.o. and couches that wouldn’t fit into tiny rooms in Victorian houses with loads of windows and fat radiators taking up precious wall space. And broken table legs and overtired babies shrieking with crazed laughter and wobbly cats sliding across scuffed floors.
But it’s over now, and we’re in, and slowly the boxes are emptied and the dejected pile of vacant ones grows mountainous in the backyard. My mother has gone and it’s me and my boys. Harlan with an apple and a drill, building shelves to create a linen closet, stopping to kiss the woman he loves despite her crankiness. Aidan asleep in my room, surrounded by his moose, his lamb, his lama and all his blankets that reassure him that he’s home and safe and loved.