Let me back up. When I married Neal, I had no idea that this part of New Jersey existed. I was a city girl from Philadelphia, and what I knew about Jersey geography could fit on a postage stamp-sized map. I did know that there were some pretty rural parts, but I didn't realize quite how rural. I went from having this "giant" yard...
And yes, it was an adjustment. Not just the yard, but the whole city vs. rural thing. Our address was determined by Neal's job -- since he's in agriculture and has to be in the office by 6 am all summer, he won the commute war. There were two things I missed about my childhood home: 12 am pizza delivery and my parents. (Note: not necessarily in that order.)
Fast forward eighteen years, and we finally have a place that delivers pizza until about 10 pm. However, I still was forever on the wrong side of rush hour from my parents. Now that my parents live so close, we can have delivery pizza again, as long as it's a reasonable dinner hour.
Last weekend, we had a "last supper" in the old house. It was a bittersweet day. Growing up left me with many memories of that house, and I will miss it. We laughed between pictures in that living room on the day I got married that there was no turning back, and I was going out the door for good. It's funny to realize that the day has come when I truly can't "go back home."
Yes, there were tears. It's been exciting yet overwhelming for all of us.
We crowded around the kitchen table for dinner, but didn't all fit. Damien took his dessert into the dining room and had a picnic on the floor, since the table had already been taken out.
After dinner, my best childhood friend came over, husband with camera in tow . She also came to be with my parents on moving day. She was among the first to welcome us to the neighborhood - her mom brought her over to say hello. We were only three years old, and we've been friends ever since. It seems fitting that she was there to help them pack up the moving truck, too.
It seems strange to take pictures with us as adults.
But even stranger was this picture -- our children on the same front step we played on.
When my parents moved here, I was 3 - the same age as my nephew (in the blue shirt). They had three children, ages 3, 2 and newborn. They now have extra children by marriage and 10.5 grandchildren, ranging in age from 17-year-old Luke to a coming-this-November baby. (Yes, a few of us are missing from the picture.)
Jude knew my parents were sending out "We've moved!" postcards. He wanted to send them a letter, too. On Tuesday, he wrote them a note saying "Welcome to the neighborhood!" and mailed it, hoping it would be waiting for them when they moved in on Wednesday. It didn't get there before my parents, but they received his welcome on their very first morning here. Not too bad.
Moving day finally came. The movers came, and loaded the furniture onto their truck. I was going to handle this end of things, opening the house so someone was here in case the movers got here before my parents. My dad texted me when they were leaving.
Finally both my parents and the moving truck arrived, and the unloading began.
As comedic relief during all of this, we gifted my parents their very own No Drama Llama. Drama is forbidden in his presence. He stayed in the old house until my parents left, and Mom brought him in with her from the car first thing, taking no chances.
There's nothing quite like hopping and pointing around furniture. Why does getting it out of one doorway involve sticking it in another?
Finally, one room organized enough to sit down.
But not for long. We needed to shift the refrigerator around, and behind it needed a good sweeping. Where was the broom? Who knows! Packed somewhere. I called my house and asked Celia to bring ours. I laughed as I watched her ride up to the rescue, looking like she couldn't decide which section of the Wizard of Oz she wanted to be in!
Can't you hear the theme music?
Once we had things fairly organized several hours later, we discussed dinner. Since everything was still packed, I invited my parents to my house for dinner.
The kids were so excited, and are already talking about walking there when the weather cools a bit. Jude can't wait to bake cookies and take them over, because "That's what neighbors do." I never would have dreamed that my parents would live on our street, but I'm so excited that they are here. After 18 years, this Irish girl has become Italian at heart...her family is all on one street.
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