Justin and I have been together for almost thirteen years, in May we will have been married for six of those years. On February 26th, 2010 we moved out of our childhood homes and into our first home together. As exciting as that time was, it was also very difficult for me to leave behind everything I knew. My room was no longer my room, my house was now “my parent’s house”, and as Monica Geller would say: Now I have to live with a boy!!
Justin and I really had no idea what sharing a home would require or the mountain of responsibilities that came with being a married couple. We were young, planning a wedding, and just excited to be off on our own.
As usual, I had procrastinated packing until the night before the big move. The prospect of going through 25 years worth of crap was completely unappealing. I remember sifting through everything I own and picking the things that were important enough to make it to the car inevitably to find its new home in our apartment. Yearbooks, photo albums, cases of CDs, all the Bath & Body Works products a girl could ever need, framed pictures, and trinkets that had peppered every flat surface available in my childhood room. I was up into the wee hours of the morning stuffing boxes, slowly coming to the realization that I had completely underestimated the process of moving.
As if on cue, mother nature decided that February 26th, 2010 was going to be a day for an epic snowstorm. Our excitement outweighed the snow and from our separate corners of Metro-Detroit, Justin and I packed our cars and headed toward our new home. We signed our lives away, got our keys, and opened the door to our new space. We were officially adults. As boxes and things made their way up the stairs it became glaringly obvious how unprepared we were to live on our own. We had a flat screen TV, a bed, all of our personal belongings but absolutely nothing practical that you take for granted on a daily basis. No dishes, no groceries, no pots or pans, no shower curtain, or towels for that matter, no furniture…but heaven forbid we move into our new home without a flat screen TV. My mom rescued us by taking me to Target to get some essentials to get us through the next week before my bridal shower. I had obsessively been stalking our registry for weeks and now, more than ever, was so grateful for what I had previously considered an archaic tradition. The apartment slowly became a home as we unpacked our things and filled the small space with everything that had made us – us.
With one more load at my parents house I traveled the short distance back to my childhood home, the snow still piling up on the streets as the sun was going down. Every last inch of my car was packed and just about everything I considered essential was finally out of my room. As I walked down the stairs a wave of panic hit me. This was it, my last load of things, the last time this would be considered my room. My sister would be moving home in about six weeks and this would become her space. I walked through the kitchen, idly chatting with my parents, went toward the back door and couldn’t leave. I sat on the steps by the back door and just started crying. The craziness of moving was over. It was just me: Emily the adult getting in my car to go back to this apartment that was now my home.
A home without furniture, plates, or towels!
After several hugs and giggles from my parents, I got into my car and started driving. Tears still in my eyes I pulled out onto the main street, the roads were awful, it was hard to see. The ride was awful, I eventually calmed down but between the stress of driving in the snow, the couple of almost accidents, the exhaustion of spending my day moving, and the emotions from making this leap into adulthood, I was spent.
I pulled into the parking lot of our complex and could see Justin, sitting in a lawn chair in our living room through the lit door wall windows. I smiled, grabbed as much as I could carry and joined him as we watched TV on our flat screen as we planned for our next day – going to the store and picking out furniture. It was all going to be okay.
Now, six years later, we have furniture, plates, and more towels than any two people need. There are three animals that we have adopted into our little family that control every aspect of our lives, we’ve since moved a second time into a small house that fits us just right for now, and have learned so much about what it means to share your life with another human being. We have dinner with my parents on a weekly basis and that will always be my childhood home, it holds a special place in my heart, but I’ve also figured out that home, really is wherever you make it.