Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The heart of the matter

So, how did you celebrate Mother's Day? I know I'm late to the party but I spent my weekend being a mother. Hubs and I left our house at 6 am last Wednesday morning to drive to South Carolina in order to help daughter1 pack up her apartment and belongings and car and get them to her new home in the DC area. Let me just say right off the bat that daughter1 has a lot of belongings. Ahem.

Anyway, we left NJ in the cold dark rain at 6 am Wednesday morning and arrived in sunny South Carolina a little before 7 PM. Coincidentally this was mere minutes after the brake pad warning light appeared on the dash. Putting new brakes on my car wasn't exactly part of our already complicated plans but what can you do? Gotta have brakes, right? Plus we should know that a trip to see our girls is never complete without some sort of expensive car repair but it's usually theirs. Sigh.

Daughter2 had her last exam on Wednesday so she met us downtown for dinner at a bbq place we all love and we worked out a Plan B for Thursday. Hubs had to spend several hours at the car dealer getting brand new brakes so Daughter2 and I might have gone shopping. Once he had the new brakes hubs came back to the hotel to collect me so we could go back out to practically where he had just been and pick up the rental truck we needed for moving daughter1's furniture. We drove the truck to her apt and left it for the night and since Daughter1 wasn't arriving from DC until that evening and daughter2 had a babysitting job we called it a day. Hubs and I went out to my sister's new house for a cookout which was a welcome break. My mom was in town visiting too and it was nice to see her on this Mother's Day weekend. It was Mother's Day, remember? Are you following this?

Friday morning we met the girls for breakfast at 9am (the crack of dawn according to daughter2) and headed to the apartment to see what we were facing. If you have kids this age you know what I mean. Daughter1 had done her best to pack up most of the non-furniture items before she went to DC to start her new job but there was still plenty to do. Hubs has had a little back issue this past month so thankfully daughter1's boyfriend and another friend arrived to save the day. They carried all the heavy furniture down the stairs (of course there are stairs...there are always stairs) and got it onto the truck which was a huge blessing.


Friday night we were so happy to finally meet the boyfriends mom for the first time. We really enjoyed relaxing and chatting and we had a nice family dinner a little later.

Saturday we went back to Daughter1's apartment to finish the job. Well, the SC part of the job anyway. Is this boring? Yes, I think it is, but motherhood is not all glamour and good times now is it? Stay with me though...I haven't even gotten to the most fun part. We spent Saturday cleaning and stuffing (literally) the last bits and bobs into the truck. We still had a big tv and three guitars in our car plus the girls luggage. Daughter1's car was also loaded with who knows what but I can assure you it was all essential.

Now the plan on Sunday (Mother's Day in case you've somehow forgotten) was to meet the girls at Daughter2's apt at 6:30 am to begin the drive north. Daughter1's boyfriend had his graduation ceremony on Saturday night and they went to dinner afterwards with his dad. Graduation ran a bit long ( don't they know we need short speeches and lots of time for pictures?) so dinner didn't begin until 10:30 PM. Needless to say she did not get to bed early and she was going to be the middle car in our caravan Sunday. Extra stops en route it will be.

Does everyone else move kids in and out of housing as much as we do? If you have preschoolers or young children you might not get this post at all. If you have kids in college or beyond you are probably nodding your head and reaching for the Advil or your wallet as you flash back to moving your own children in and out of dorms and apartments and storage units.

Sunday (Mother's Day, remember?) we pulled up bright and early to collect the girls and I was greeted with a basket of goodies including gift certificates to my favorite salon and lunch spot. I am definitely going to need a manicure after this weekend. We set off at 6:30 am with hubs driving in the number 1 spot. He had the rental truck full of furniture and was followed (sometimes too closely) by daughter1 with her fully loaded vehicle. Daughter2 and I were in my car and we acted as caboose for the next 11 hours. I know. Technically it's only about 8 1/2 hours from SC to DC but when you are trying to keep three cars together and have all drivers at peak performance it takes a wee bit longer. Have you ever had to follow two vehicles for that amount of time? Through five states? On too little sleep? With the last two hours being a trek around the DC Beltway? On Mother's Day?

We went directly to the storage unit to unload. Daughter1 is already staying in her apartment but the roommate who is vacating is not leaving for a couple more weeks so the furniture has to go somewhere in the meantime. Plus, why move it all once when you can do it twice?

We were a little concerned about the unloading since there were no boys hanging around to help and then add to that the fact that hubs back was aching and the combined weight of my two girls is equal to that of a hummingbird so yeah, we worried...but lo and behold everyone put on their happy faces and their big kid pants and got the job done uber efficiently. Only one minor injury occurred...I'll give you three guesses which kid?

Daughter2 picked up a shelf that folded and it pinched her finger good. I have very few photos from the weekend because hello, did you just read this recap??? When we got to the storage unit I suddenly remembered I had a blog and decided I needed a couple of pictures so here you go-

When your kids go to college far from home you become well acquainted with the inside of a storage unit, how to rent, load and pack trucks, how to operate a dolly, and how to dress for the sweat and dust you are bound to encounter.

Did you think I was through? Almost...we spotted a pizza restaurant across the street from the storage place and told hubs we were not going any further without food. It was Mother's Day. We laughed a lot during dinner. We really did. And the manager gave me a gift card for a future visit because I'm a mom. And it was Mother's Day.

We headed to Daughter1's apartment and dropped her off and then drove a bit further to spend the night with friends in Annapolis. We arrived at 9:30 PM. It was a long day.

Reading this back just now it sounds like a busy crazy exhausting weekend with not a lot of R and R. I guess that's true but in a funny way it felt like a true celebration of motherhood. Perhaps truer and more real than any Mother's Day I've spent dining in a fancy restaurant or being pampered in a quiet spa. In my little corner of the world this Mother's Day there was sunshine and there was dirt. There were tears and giggles and sweat. There were knowing glances, stern looks, inside jokes, and bone weary exhaustion. Worry and pride. Minutes of frustration and moments of pure happiness. Isn't that the very essence of motherhood?


  1. Oh my gosh this made me laugh out loud and yes, I'm nodding my head understanding ALL of it!
    Yes girls have sooo much stuff. I know you don't have the boys to compare but let me just assure you, they are a piece of cake to move compared to girls!

    And... 9:00 am, the crack of dawn! ROFL!! College kids are the same everywhere, that's for sure.

    We literally were just on the speaker phone with Miss Katherine trying to decide when and how to get her stuff from one house to another for a mere 8 weeks..."I don't want to take all my stuff" ... and why should she when there is always the storage units? It's just money, after all. Bother.

  2. I'm exhausted just reading this! So glad you got her moved and got to spend Mother's Day with your girls.

  3. I guess I am a terrible Mother - When Ashley moved into her apartment last year she moved herself! LOL and I still hear about it. Her friend helped her and they were only moving a few blocks over. She put her mattress on her computer chair and pushed it thru the streets to the new place! This year...she is staying in the same apartment so there will be no moving until she graduates!

  4. Wow that is some weekend! But that is the kind of Mother you are....one that is there for her children. You can rest and relax from this point on...until the next move!

  5. I was thinking, before you said it, that your weekend was exactly what motherhood is: spending time with your kids, laughing, working, eating, etc. You're a great mom!

    Glad that move is over and that you have some help moving everything out of storage.

    And I LOVE South Carolina ... my favorite state ... at least along the coast. ;-)

  6. I cannot believe you were in SC and DID NOT LET ME KNOW! And, if you were in Charleston, you're really in trouble! Birdie graduated from the College of Charleston on Saturday and might be moving to Texas this summer. Deanie moved to DC after graduating from Winthrop University a couple of years ago. Breezy got married after graduating from Wofford College and moved to NC. So, I might know a little something about moving daughters. LOL

  7. Wow! You had a very busy Mother's Day, didn't you? Yikes!

    I've moved house more time than I care to count...

  8. What a busy weekend! I'm exhausted for you! I'm glad everything worked out, and the move was successful. Spending time with your children--no matter where,or doing what--is the best kind of Mother's Day.

  9. Yuck. This is what I have to look forward to? I'm going to start telling my girls to date football players!

  10. oh my. is it okay if i just put my fingers in my ears and 'lalalalalalala...' to myself now? i just can't think about this age just yet. *sigh* i can only hope that i handle it with as much grace as you, my friend.

  11. Next week we will be moving our oldest into "his" first apartment. It's actually his and his future wife's, but since she won't move down here until after their married, it's his for the next six weeks. Fortunately, it's just a couple of miles away. Also fortunately, we have more than enough males on hand to help. My biggest problem will be making sure that he doesn't "accidentally" take any of our stuff with him! : )

  12. Do you know that you were awesome this weekend and I love you?? Also... don't forget you have to move me again at the end of this month! Woohoo can't wait! xoxo

  13. Oh, my goodness Joyce, I could have written this same post about 10 years ago. Oh, at the moves we have done with our children. It makes me tired just thinking about it now. And, the upstairs, the storage units, etc. etc. What memories! And, ours always seem to be in the heat of summer. We moved daughter to Dallas in August for her first teaching job and it about killed us all. :o) Happy, restful week to you!

  14. Ouch those fingers look sore!

    Thanks for the questions again this week Joyce, I'm looking forward to answering these tomorrow :)

  15. I think daughter 2 should come babysit the dudes. Then she'll know what the crack of dawn is. ;)

  16. OMG!!!
    You had me howling with laughter.
    This is our lives right now, isn't it?!
    And we wouldn't trade them for the world now would we?!
    Hope the fingers heal quickly.

  17. I so loved your story of moving your girl. Sounds exhausting and fun! I'll have to tell mine sometime. This was our first time bringing our daughter home from her 1st year of college.

  18. I kind of get this but my college kids commuted from home since we said they could go anywhere they wanted but we wouldn't pay out-of-state tuition or room and board. That narrowed their choices and all of them are tight w/ a buck. However, 2 of my older 3 have moved away for the summer to be camp counselors in PA . I can attest to the fact that your loads are much heavier because you have two GIRLS. My daughter takes 2 weeks to packs. My son ? An evening. My daughter wanted bright new matching towels, 2 a day. Son was content with old bleached brown ones , 2 a week. etc, etc.

    You're quite the mom, doing all that on YOUR day! I'm sure you're majorly appreciated.

  19. Those fingers looked like it hurt and I'm sure she appreciated you taking her pictures too:)

    It may have not been fun, but at least you were with your girls on Mother's Day. Maybe next year will be a relaxing one:) :) :)