Endless miles of ochre-colored mountains speckled with tufts of arid vegetation line the interstate and provide the only interesting bits of scenery outside the car window. As I gaze at the slopes in search of signs of life, I half-heartedly listen to the blood-and-guts detective thriller playing in the background. My husband and I are wearily making the long haul back home. The four letter word “haul” is such a small word for such an exhausting accomplishment and it barely describes what we had been through over the last 72 hours.
Our daughter moved again. This time, though, her plans involved moving into an unfurnished apartment which when translated into consumer-talk means “IKEA” and when translated into parent-talk means truck. Murphy’s Law dictates that when you reserve a ten-foot truck, you are given a 16-footer, with the extra 6 feet for free, of course. Our nightmares of negotiating a behemoth throughout heavily-trafficked urban streets would soon become a reality.
Flying her home so she could sort out her belongings, unceremoniously dumped on the garage floor prior to her departure to Greece eight months ago, seemed like a good idea. With only four days in which to do all of this, I transformed into a drill sergeant whose words “pick” (through) and “pack” resounded throughout the house. “Sorry, no time to visit with friends,” I reprimanded her – although how could I not let her? After sorting through box after box, we had finally consolidated enough stuff to fill the truck.
With my husband and I enjoying the bone-rattling, earsplitting ride of the truck, my daughter and a friend turned our comfortable sedan into a karaoke fest. “Since you two are driving so slow, is it okay if we drive on ahead and meet you there?” my daughter asks. “Why not” my kind husband says while I’m thinking to myself, “Wait, if we have to crawl along, the least they can do is keep us company!”
As night fell we arrived at the first of many destinations. The objective here – to pick up more cast-off furniture from brother number one. We hit the road again and soon arrived in her college town. She and her friend went happily to a friend’s place to stay the night while my husband and I tried to fit our unruly vehicle into our motel’s dinky parking lot.
Bright and early the next day we met our daughter at her new digs. Noting that her apartment was on the second story, my husband and I heaved a sigh and began to unload the truck. Before we could give our muscles a rest, we were off with the truck to help her roommates move. If I’ve learned anything in the last decade of moving kids, it’s having a tool kit or a truck makes you very popular.
Although spending hours in Ikea is not my idea of fun, I have to admit I enjoyed watching my daughter and her roommates excitedly select furniture for their new place. Plans for their post-college futures brightened their faces and peppered their conversations. Any trip to Ikea for our family is always followed by a marathon assembly and pizza party and this time was no exception. The somewhat shabby apartment began to look like a home.
Our last day with her was filled with visits to rental offices, banks, and the bookstore. Soon it was time to leave for the long car trip home. I’m sure many parents can relate to this story and as much as I grouse about the hassles of moving my children, I don’t think I would want it any other way. For as long as I can, I want to be there for them during these times of transition. I enjoy helping them get settled and it’s reassuring to me to see that they are in clean, safe places. I’m a mom – I’m used to being a work horse. Making order out of chaos is my specialty.