Delilah weaved her way through the towers of boxes, looking for her bed. Her nose stopped where a cardboard corner met the floor. On the side of the box was scribbled, “dog beds.” She sighed.
“Sorry girl. I’ll get them out for you tomorrow.”
She curled her tail under her bottom and paced a bit.
I understood just how she felt.
Moving is hard. It’s worse the longer you’ve stayed. This is the only home my girls have known. It’s been mine, solely mine, for 16 years. I worked hard to buy it. Now I was working on letting it go.
It was getting late in a long day. Lilah, Lilly, Jon and I found a path to the stairway and headed up. I’d saved a few of their beds for them to sleep on one more time before the dirty, hairy, duck- taped and drooled-upon cushions would be chucked to the curb in the morning. We all settled in and quickly nodded off.
I lived on the water for some of my growing up years, and have dreamed of it ever since. My second apartment overlooked a section of Toledo’s Maumee River. In suburban Detroit, it was a small cottage on Walled Lake. In Miami, it was the Inter-Coastal Waterway- if you stood on your tippy toes in the kitchen, you could see the ocean. Now, Jon and I had found the perfect spot on the West River, near the Chesapeake Bay. It’s beautiful. We ordered a pretty, Ridgeback- proof fence. Jon secured the garage for our bikes and boats. The outside was ready.
On the afternoon of the first delivery of Jon’s belongings, the mover arrived at the door holding an ironing board.
“Oh Lord,” I said, having no immediate notion where to put it.
“Ma’am. You’re going to have to pull yourself together,” the mover deadpanned.
That make me laugh pretty hard. He had no idea how right he was.
As my beloved’s belongings began piling up in our new space, it became clear we had different notions of how it would look inside. I like my wood floors exposed. Jon likes his Persian rugs. They landed, rolled up, in the middle of the living room floor. Elephants. We stepped over them for two days. They are now in the garage.
I have an antique kitchen table. It has cool fold-under leaves and, like me, thick, hardy legs. It sits along the waterfront windows, displaced in the breakfast nook by a nicer, more appropriate dark wood table of Jon’s. It has a date with the rugs.
Moving is hard. Moving in together is harder.
Come the morning of my move, I’d been vigilant enough to keep coffee and filters handy but hadn’t wrested the coffee maker from the fast hands of the packers before it wound up buried in cardboard. Jon went out to get coffee around 5am. I cuddled with the girls, smooching them on their puzzled little foreheads. Something shiny caught my eye in the darkness.
Somewhere in Texas I’d picked up a small silver cross. I loved it because it was engraved with a sun rising over a field. It had hung over my bedroom door for years, absorbing my problems, and my hopes and my dreams. The movers had over-looked it. Perfectly.
I’m not a particularly religious person.
But I’d asked the cross to watch over me often. I’d begged it for work, for my health, for my safety and for a good man. Most often, it delivered.
This morning, as I hugged the two loves of my life, and waited for the third to arrive with coffee, I thanked it. It had kept us all well and warm. I reached up and easily plucked it from its watch, held it to my lips and asked it for its continued service.
Jon came in with two large, steaming cups of java. I told him about the cross. And I told him that he was its best delivery ever. And then, I had a good cry.
I cheered up as we talked about how much fun it was going to be to set the girls loose in their new, bigger yard which includes lots of geese, fish smells, and even farm mules across the creek.
A few days later, exhausted from the undoing of all that had been done, Jon and I collapsed in a new bed, in a new room, which had a new, beautiful view. We discovered that we could see stars from the high windows, and the gleam of moonlight on the creek. And once again, something silver caught my eye. There was the cross with its sun and field hanging over the doorway. Delivered by its own best delivery.
We are home.