It felt like early Christmas at our new house a couple of weeks ago when the moving van backed down our driveway. Out came all the stuff—essentially everything we own—that had been in storage since early last summer. After living with only the barest of necessities for several months, I admit to a surge of joy as one item after another of familiar fleshly domestic comforts was carried in through the front door. Cushy chairs, our bed, boxes stuffed with pillows, reading lamps, pots and pans. Desks!
And clothes. When we left town after we sold our previous house, we packed about a week’s worth of clothes into carry-aboard size wheelie bags because, with all the other things we needed to have with us, there wasn’t room in the car for more. We had taken as few changes of clothes on long trips before, and been fine. Once a week, you do some laundry and you’re good to go again. But we weren’t on vacation this time, no walking tour of the Lake District or gondola ride to distract one from the monotony of one’s attire. All summer, and into fall, we were just hanging out until we could move into the new house, wearing and washing the same things over and over. So, I was very happy when I opened a big wardrobe box and found a fresh supply of my old clothes hanging there; they felt new to me.
Box after box came off the truck and was deposited in its appropriate zone, upstairs, downstairs, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen. It didn’t take long before the big empty space the house had seemed just that morning was full.
About halfway through the unloading process, I began to wonder where we would put everything. More to the point, was all this stuff necessary?
I was reminded of my daughter’s first Christmas. Aly was the first baby in the family, the beloved and long-awaited only grandchild and niece. That Christmas, gifts addressed to her arrived in waves. There wasn’t room around the tree to pile them all; truly an embarrassment of riches. Aly, who was all of eleven months old, opened a few packages, said Ooh and Ahh an appropriate number of times for her expectant audience, and then, bored with it all, or maybe overwhelmed by it, turned her back on the piles of wrapped goodies and went off to play in the laundry basket her grandparents had carted her gifts in. She reminded us that there can be too much of a good thing.
Aly picked out a handful of gifts, and the rest were loaded into the car that Christmas afternoon and delivered to the Women’s Shelter, where they were much appreciated by children caught up in their parents’ chaos.
Today is Thanksgiving. As we unpack familiar things that we made do without for a while, we have a new appreciation for ordinary daily comforts that we used to take for granted. And we are thankful. But it’s time again to share some of our bounty.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!
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