Sunday, August 31, 2008

Belated goodbyes

It's two o'clock in the morning here in Taiwan, and I am finally saying goodbye to my parents' house. A sensible person would have said goodbye when she was actually leaving the house, I suppose, but the morning of our departure after our long summer home was harried: load up the car, rouse the sleeping children, make one last pass through the house for any overlooked belongings. I'm sure we forgot some things--I'm expecting a box from my mom any day now with assorted summer leftovers--but the thing is, it's the house I left behind that I'm missing now.

Today--as in this moment, while it's dark here but nearly noon in Washington--my parents are holding an estate sale, downsizing as they prepare for their move to a new home in sunnier climes. I had all summer to set aside anything I particularly cherished and didn't want sold, and I did tuck away some favorites. Still, my mind is now wandering through all the rooms (dodging all the bargain-hunters who are doing the same thing), as I recall what goes where, and imagine how it will look when it's gone.

I am happy for their move, truly. And I'm happy that they are sorting and selling and saving aside as they see fit. I've done that before our moves overseas, and it's liberating. I just wish I could be there today. I'm sad that the house is beginning its transformation from "is" to "was" without me, and am feeling a little adrift. Perhaps it's not right to keep an anchor on the other side of the world, but it has been a comfort to me. I will miss it when it's gone.

I really must get to bed, but first, Mom, if you haven't sold the elephant mug I made in 5th grade, and the chromed boat bell that dad told me I could have one day, please stick a "sold" sticker on 'em for me. Thanks.