Packing home is more than luggage and U-Haul trucks. It is Granny’s painting. It is soft blankets from a loving Nana to cuddle with in unfamiliar dark. Packing home is pictures (posed and unposed) nestled in a carry-on for safe keeping. For my big girls, it was Legos, a jillion gallon-sized ziplocks of Legos. They spend hours creating little towns with homes and shops. I think the opportunity to make your own place is a pretty big deal, especially when your parents are moving you to the other side of the planet. Literally. Then came the dolls, Kit, Camille, ZuZu, Tiana Lily, and Isabelle. Who would be in the carryons in guaranteed safety? Who would be encased in the checked baggage? Who would have to stay behind all alone? It was heartbreak for my girls to decide each doll’s fate.
For mom it was happy-colored sheers for windows. Our melamine plates, bowls, and cups…yes, 16.6 pounds of cheerful plates that wouldn’t shatter the first time they struck the tile. And books. Oodles of books. Stories as familiar as my own like The Blue Castle, The Velveteen Rabbit, and That’s Not My Dragon. It seemed nigh on impossible to fly over oceans without these friends along. Each chose a copy of His Word to bring along as well as a few studies. Movies came along, too-Barbie, SuperBook, & While You Were Sleeping. Holiday reminders of table runners, streamers, balloons, and stockings crossed the oceans, too.
The thing about moving is that everything changes-the further the distance, the more extreme the change. From new driveway to where the toilet paper is in the bathroom, it changes. From family next door to family 30 hours away by air, it changes. From being able to hop in a vehicle and run to Kroger, to arranging a taxi or grab (then hoping you can get one home when you finish!), it changes. Suddenly, your home that was your favorite place to be has become your refuge from the waves of unfamiliar that keep crashing overhead.
Packing home isn’t about things and stuff. It is the way a shell of a house becomes a place to rest, weep, laugh, heal, worship, and breathe. Our home isn’t perfection, but it hugs us when we walk in. There are faces we recognize, an old stroller by the door, and cards from back home. There are a year’s worth of notes right beside the dining room table and a photo-covered blanket on the couch. Packing home into fifty pound pieces of luggage isn’t easy, but it is key to not just surviving, but thriving.