Moving is a pain in the ass. Anyone who has ever done it knows it. And when you have six kids, four of whom are under 4 and range from “unhelpful” to “destructive,” crazy is a best-case scenario.
Thanks to my parents, the kids didn’t have to be involved in the actual move-in into our new home. My parents should get some sort of medal, by the way, for taking my whole family in to live with them for almost five months. Did I mention we moved into their house four days before having a baby? On second thought, a medal is in no way good enough.
And now, we were finally moving into our own new home. The morning of the move, I felt incredibly tense, and it was in no small part due to being a mom. Because, you know, as a parent, you’re responsible for everything for these kids, from what they eat to where they sleep. Could I find their sheets in time for bed? What about pajamas?
None of these things were “big deals” in the grand scheme of things, but it is an incredibly unnerving feeling to feel unsettled in your new home. Or to have a new house, but for it not to feel like a home yet. I felt lost—just as lost, I realized before the kids went to bed, as their toothbrushes. Where were their backpacks for school the next day? Where was my mind?
I don’t know what made me stop unpacking the 70th box, but I did stop and said to my husband, “Let’s put the mezuzah up.”
“Now?” he asked, wiping sweat off his forehead.
I can’t really explain it, but as I watched my husband hammering the nails in that attached our mezuzah to the front doorpost of our home, I felt different. For all the stakes we had put in the ground as we embarked on landscaping changes, this really felt like we were planting our flag in our new world.
By putting up a mezuzah, we tell the world that ours is a Jewish home. This is a home where we will raise (lots of) Jewish kids. Our windows will be illuminated by candlelight on dusky Friday evenings, and the light of our six hanukkiyot will pierce through the darkness on those too-dark-too-early winter nights of Hanukkah. We’ll have a huge sukkah in the back, and big seders for our ever-bigger family each Passover.
I think we are going to be living among boxes for a good long time. I may have to invest in new toothbrushes. It’s going to be a while before the turbulence dissipates, before we know where all our stuff is and before we feel settled in.
But looking at the mezuzah on our doorpost, I feel, finally, that we are home.