It’s the end of July. It’s the very last day of the month that we, in turn, thought would never end, and thought would end all too quickly. With that, J is closer to going back to school, and this seems to have taken a back seat in his mind for the time being. His efforts are all focused on packing and making sure that I do as he tells me to: the sign for SCISSORS means “pack” to him.
The house is pared down and yet piled up. Our kitchen is now merely “the” kitchen because all traces of personality have been stripped. I feel like I’m cooking in a temporary set-up, waiting for the right appliances and a familiar space to move around in as if on Sunday last this kitchen wasn’t the only kitchen I’ve known for nearly two years. I look in drawers and cupboards and realize my things are disappearing into the bowels of the garage, neatly arranged and labeled for later use. The living room looks like J’s area, but planted firmly in the middle of a no-man’s-land.
J doesn’t mind it, though. He is content to sit there watching the piles of boxes rise, and whatever is not needed go to the trash pile or the give-away pile. Our trips to the dumpster are characterized by the joy J feels, the spring in his step, as we walk past our new home. The switch from HOUSE to HOME has worked wonders; J now corrects me if I say “look, it’s your new house!” HOME, he chimes in, and stops to look at his bedroom window.
Tomorrow, by the way, is bean bag day. I mean, sorry, Enormous Bean Bag Day. J’s rather gargantuan bean bag was not supposed to arrive until next week, but it got pushed up so that tomorrow a very heavy, tightly compressed box will arrive and, once let loose from its bonds, a bean bag will emerge. We think this process alone will offer J some degree of entertainment. Either that or it will totally freak him out. I think he will initially consider the process of puffing up the bean bag boring, but will stake his claim as soon as anyone shows an interest in sitting there.
His room is basically untouched. I go in there, measure things, analyze his belongings and then walk out with my notes. The other bedrooms have lost some of their less needed items already, but J’s is still basically the same. The only thing that has changed is that his bedside table has been painted and looks like new. He likes this. The light from his bedside lamp now shines off the surface of this once sad-looking table that now looks (thanks to Hammered Black from Rust-Oleum) much more sophisticated. Today I ordered him another unit for his room so that his TV doesn’t sit on top of a bookshelf anymore.
We had discussed not having a TV in his room since he will have the room downstairs with all his entertainment accoutrements, but I told Dada that it is best to leave the TV up there just in case he’s ever not feeling well enough to go downstairs to spend the day. There is something comforting about cocooning in one’s bed and allowing oneself to feel better without having to drag miserably down the stairs. The unit I ordered allows for some of his books and toys to be stored in his room, but the bulk of his things will be in the basement-level entertainment room.
Little by little we’re inching towards completing this process. It hasn’t been as hectic as we feared it would be, and taking J down to the construction site every day has worked wonders. He knows that there is a purpose to the packing, and that it’s something that will give him more space. He still hasn’t wanted to go inside, but I’m sure that the big reveal on the day we get our keys will be very exciting for him. I honestly hope we get the keys on Wednesday evening so that I can take him down there and let him walk the house as it sits empty, before we even bring one single thing that belongs to us…
If this is not possible, of course, I will make sure that J goes there directly from the school bus, and we can then walk around the house and get familiarized with his new surroundings. I would let him pick his bedroom, but we decided on the one that isn’t directly above the garage because he has been sleeping in the room over the garage for two years and now it’s TGG’s turn, plus it won’t be a problem for TGG because he is the one who goes in and out through the garage door and to do this he won’t be in his room.
The selling point, of course, is that big room downstairs. J will love this. I will love it, too. I have to confess that this chair I sit on for hours on end (because if I’m in the room he wants me to be at the computer) is killing my poor, quickly-aging back. Dada says he’s not sure J will want the door to his entertainment room closed while he’s in there; he wonders if J will insist on an open door so I am visible and audible to him. I, on the other hand, know that J will insist on a closed door because, after all, I have to sit at the computer with my back turned to him to guarantee a certain degree of “distance” between us.
We’ll have distance now. We’ll have distance and a door, and J will feel as comfortable in that room as he does now when he kicks us (unceremoniously) out of the basement-level living room. That door will provide us with a degree of separation that we will both enjoy. I will be close enough if he needs me, and I will be far away enough to not bother him.
Sounds blissful…and it’s still two weeks (and a lot of work) away.