Though I haven’t yet ordered our change-of-address cards (which reminds me, I should do that now), I guess it’s okay to announce to the internet that we’ve moved to a new apartment. We’re still in the same neighborhood, but in New York City, even a move of only 0.4 miles requires a new dry cleaner, grocery store, and pharmacy.
I’d been living in our last apartment for eight and a half years (my husband for five and a half)–I’d moved there with a roommate when I first came to New York, and eventually my husband moved in with me. We got engaged there, got married there, brought our baby home from the hospital to that apartment. It was a wonderful home for many years. And then it was all of the sudden just too small. Our desk was in the living room, the stairs were really narrow, and there wasn’t space to have our kitchen table set up in a way that we could actually sit at it at the same time and eat a meal together. So it was time to move.
After a long day of moving, falling asleep in our new place was a relief. Our daughter, on the other hand, had a harder time adjusting. She woke up around 9 pm on that first night and was freaked out. She didn’t know where she was. I sat in our rocker, rubbing her back and singing over and over, “We’re in our new home. Mommy lives here, and Daddy lives here, and Abby lives here. And all of your books are here, and all of your toys are here, and all of your stuffed animals are here, and your bed is here, and we all live in our new home.” Within a few nights she’d gotten used to things, and even responded with “new home” when I’d ask, “Where are we?”
So though it felt comfortable to her within a few days, it took me a little while longer to really feel like this apartment was our new home. And it wasn’t unpacking boxes, hanging curtains, or putting art on the walls that did it.
It was last Friday that it really felt like ours. Though we were mostly unpacked, we hadn’t exactly used our kitchen yet… I’ve got to admit that we’d ordered in meals for a couple of weeks. Last Friday afternoon, I picked up some chicken, cornflake crumbs (harder to find than anticipated!), couscous, brussels sprouts, and a challah. My husband’s aunt came over to play with the baby and we cooked dinner together. And then we lit candles, sang the kiddush, ate challah…and sat down to a meal. TOGETHER. All four of us–me, my husband, our daughter, and his aunt–we all were able to sit at the table, not feel cramped, and spend a relaxed Shabbat meal together. It was the first time we’d ever done that, besides at a relative’s house or in a restaurant. What a simple, simple joy.
I finally felt like our new apartment was home.