Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Aug. 5, 2011

The dust hasn't settled yet

Whether it's just an individual or an entire family moving, the process is a stressful undertaking, even if it is the result of a happy event - or events. Locating a new place, deciding what to keep and what to leave behind, and understanding that some pleasant things are ending are emotionally taxing.

So for us, this summer has been downright disconcerting as we've had not just one, but six moves all happening at the same time!

In June, oldest daughter Mariya and partner Lacey decided to vacate the apartment in the house husband Art and I own in Manhattan. Mariya's lived there since she graduated from high school seven years ago. Actually, it wasn't so much that Mariya and Lacey decided to move as that it's always been understood that youngest daughter Katie would move in when she was ready to start college. That time has now arrived.

It took Mariya weeks longer to transfer items from one apartment to the other than she expected. But I wasn't surprised. She's always been able to store an inordinate amount of "stuff" in a small space. So day after day when I'd text or call and ask her what she was doing, her brief reply was, "moving."

Since Lacey was at work most days and Mariya's job won't begin until fall, most of the moving chores fell to her. As the weeks wore on, we could see she was getting more and more tired.

But eventually everything was out of the apartment. After assembling a new TV stand and hanging artwork on the walls of their new home, she proclaimed that they were now settled. She even had us over to their place for dinner one night, which is unusual since she doesn't cook that often.

But Mariya and Lacey's exodus from the apartment was just the starting point for Katie. First, she had to clean the counters, cabinets, carpets and so on. Then she moved almost everything - bed, bookcase, dresser, bedding, clothes - out of her room at home.

She said it all felt a little weird.

"I tried not to think about the fact that I was moving," she said. "I tried to focus on the physical, not the emotional."

But it's been emotional for me! Katie says I make "my sad face" whenever I go by her now-empty room. Although I feel lucky that she'll remain close by, it won't be the same. No more rumpled bed covers. No more piles of clothes and school papers on every available surface - including the floor. No more cosmetics lined up on bathroom shelves. No more impromptu song-and-dance numbers down the hall.

If I had been able to do more, these changes might have been easier for me. But the disk I herniated in my back last March pretty much dictated that I stand on the sidelines and offer little more than encouragement.

Of course, I have been useful in terms of purchasing power. I plan on buying a "housewarming" gift for Mariya and Lacey, and I've helped stock Katie's apartment with cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils and other items. And I'm sure we'll shop again soon for other necessities.

But my situation seems pretty easy compared to what siblings Dave and Gaila are going through. The dust won't be settling in their households for some time yet.

Dave and wife Linda's youngest son, his wife and two young boys recently moved from the Dallas-Fort Worth area back to Kansas. Until Michael and Kristina find jobs and a permanent place to stay, they are living in Dave and Linda's basement.

But I think Gaila and husband Humberto's family wins the prize for the most upheaval. Oldest daughter Gabriela graduated from college in May and last month accepted a job in New York City. While looking for an apartment, she texted:

"Apt. hunting is hard! Especially in ny!!!!! So kinda stressed!"

But now she has a place to call home and she's in the process of furnishing it.

Younger sister Larisa graduated from high school in May and will soon fly to New York to visit Gabriela. Then she will move to Macon, Georgia in mid-August to attend college, including settling in with a roommate she has never met.

But as if that weren't enough, Gaila and Humberto are themselves moving out of their home of 16 years in La Paz, Bolivia. After spending nearly six weeks in Kansas, Gaila returned to La Paz Monday, started work Tuesday and that evening began packing household items for their move to a condo.

So I have nothing to complain about. The dust hasn't completely settled on our girls' two moves yet, but I'm pretty certain if I had to move at the same time as my kids or suddenly had a basement of kids and grandkids, I'd soon be a blithering, blubbering mess!

Left: Lacey and Mariya moving bedsprings to their new apartment; right: Katie
waiting for customers at her garage sale to raise money for apartment furnishings.

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