When we first moved to Virginia, our daughter was only two. My spouse and I drove one car cross-country to close on our new house and meet the moving van. Our daughter stayed with her Aunts and Uncles in Missouri until we could unpack, fly back, and pick her up to drive to our new home in a new state together in our other car. We neglected to realize the sheer exhaustion that would set in from endless hours of packing, driving, unpacking, driving more…plus parenting a child adjusting to sudden change. These are the idiosyncrasies of moving no one ever mentions amid packing crates and bubble wrap. We were unprepared.
After an arduous week of cleaning, unpacking, and attempting to set up our daughter’s room with close to the same level of detail as possible, we boarded a plane to St. Louis to pick her up. We arrived only to have her reluctant and tearful to leave. In spite of it all, we packed up and settled her in amid tears and confusion. We drove 14 hours, through the night, to arrive in the early morning hours to our new home in Virginia.
My spouse and I spelled each other off driving, power napping, and drinking endless cups of coffee. The caffeine had diminishing returns, and our final stretch through the mountains of Virginia was both majestic and barely comprehensible. He had an appointment with human resources for his new job that same day we arrived, so I drove the last shift and called upon every last ounce of adrenaline I could find to make it safe and sound with our most precious cargo, who had slept through most of the journey. At least we planned that part well!
We pulled up in front of our new house. There were still boxes everywhere in need of unpacking. Everywhere, that is, except our daughter’s room. She woke up in the car filled with energy and excitement. She ran in the house she had only seen in pictures up to that time, climbing the stairs to her new space. She was filled with awe and delight to see every detail of her own room, magically transported from her old house in Missouri to her new house in Virginia. She immediately began to play with all her toys, and happiness returned with that familiar feeling space of home.
My spouse set off for his appointment, and I sat with my daughter on the floor of her room. At some point, I must have decided to stretch out, and inevitably, sleep overtook me.
I woke up feeling a wall of soft, fuzzy warmth pressing against me. Opening my eyes, I saw all my daughter’s stuffed animals piled up beside me. She had tucked them around me, one by one, as I slept on the floor of her room. She was sitting there with her animals and a big smile on her face when I woke. “‘Ginia! Home!” she exclaimed.
Tucked in with the stuffed animals lovingly placed there by my now smiling daughter, I knew we were finally at home. And, this place of comforting love was indeed holy ground.