Saturday morning arrived. Today we did have a time line. We were picking up a cargo van at 9: 00am and it needed to be back by 1:00pm. The installer would be here around 8:30 which meant that one of us would stay home and two would head to the storage until. While Jeff ran to get the van, Austyn and I would begin carrying boxes down the stairs.
We stood in the dining room and looked around us.
”This is sad.” Austyn replied.
“All of this. Leaving Chicago; leaving here. Not seeing my stuff until who knows when.”
We both had tears in our eyes. This was our college dorm. We moved in here when both kids started school and we are leaving as they are completing. We have so many memories in this small place. For Austyn this was the place she was an only child. This is the place that she remembers as Mom, Dad and Austyn. In three short months she will be Mrs. Brian Ford. We were reminded again that every event this year is a major one. Each one is an emotional one and we have them stack one on top of the other.
We were also reminded of the few pacts we have made with each other. The first is to allow ourselves to feel every emotion as we go through this year, we do not want to end the year with a flood of resentment because we allowed everything to fly by. The second is the pinky swear that Austyn and I made not to get stressed about the wedding plans.
It was time to work. We both made our trips down the three flights of stairs, boxes in hand. We stacked them on the bottom two landings. We were carrying boxes down as the installer was carrying tiles up.
The van was loaded, I would stay behind. The purpose for taking Austyn’s things out of the house was to make more room. Every Realtor will tell you to get rid of the junk and extra pieces. I began rearranging the furniture.
As I made a quick pass by the kitchen I stopped to ask what steps were next in the installation. There was a little detail we had forgotten about in all the commotion. We were not to walk on the tiles for 24 hours. In our small place everything is connected. Off the kitchen is the bathroom and our bedroom; “Can’t walk on it for 24 hours?” Well isn’t that fun. It is 20 degrees and snowing today. This has been the longest winter in years and we are all tired of it. We have no stove and now no bathroom. I guess the trips to the store will have to be planned around potty breaks.
Early afternoon Austyn and I head out to pick up lunch and use someone’s restroom. We have an appointment at 3:00 to pick up the wedding dress. How ironic to be bringing something so clean and delicate into such a mess. We had a great lunch from a new Mexican restaurant down the street. I had forgotten about needing to change clothes, so Austyn stretched her way from the dining room to our bedroom and collected what I needed. We changed and headed out. It was about a mile walk and we decided to do just that, walk. We arrived at the little boutique a few minutes before 3:00.
This boutique is by appointment only and there was a group of woman trying on dresses when we arrived. We made our way into the corner, picked up Martha Stewart’s Bridal magazine and waited. There were five woman in this group, two were mothers and three were twenty-somethings. Suggestions, opinions and emotions were flying high. We were glad it was just the two of us. There was a world of difference between that group of five and our group of two. They began to ask us questions about date, place and wedding details and the gulf between our two little groups grew; bands, whirlwind, pressure, dresses, receptions, deadlines and wedding coordinators. I was proud to be in the smaller group.
At 3:15 they finally walked out the door. There was peace again. Austyn headed into the dressing room and emerged a bride. The dress was perfection. We will need it to be hemmed and pressed. We took pictures and she danced around moving from mirror to mirror. Back to the dressing room and back to reality. We left the boutique, caught a taxi and headed home. Jeff had been given the responsibility to put a hook on a wall in Austyn’s bedroom so we had somewhere to hang the dress when we got home. He had completed his task and the dress was on display. I was looking forward to a calm evening.
It wasn’t a calm evening. It was actually quite sad. Austyn was very emotional. We talked and cried that evening. There was a degree of uncertainty in her plans from now until the wedding. She was lonely and hated being only able to talk to Brian on the phone. They are making plans to move to Alaska after the wedding and as exciting as that seems it is also very scary. Most of all Austyn and I will miss each other. We may be 25 years apart in age, but we are facing a common fear, loneliness. What if we both arrive at our new homes and find ourselves alone.
The three of us were very quiet that night as we made our way to bed. This would be worst week in 2008. Promise.