Only What is Necessary

by Bella Rum


my son’s rocking horse

We close on the new house at 9:00 this morning. We haven’t stopped packing for two days. Except when we took two credenzas to Goodwill and a table to a friend, every waking minute has gone toward filling boxes. It was the last great shove to pack everything that we won’t need before we move so that we can focus on working on the new house before we move. I’m usually careful about what goes in each box, and each box is labeled with a corresponding room in the new house. Yesterday, I did not worry about getting similar things in the same box or things from the same room together. Unless it was a cherished item like my mother’s clock or a particular photo album, I didn’t care what went into the box. Books and mouthwash… fine. Humidifier and candles? Why not? If it fit, it went in the box. There wasn’t enough left to be choosy. The object was to fill the boxes. Then I listed the diverse contents on the top and chose a room where it would be deposited on the other side. Done!

“On the other side.”  That’s a phrase we heard ourselves repeating throughout the day. I don’t have time now, I’ll clean it on the other side. I’ll go through the contents of this drawer on the other side. Will I really need this? I’ll decide on the other side. Throughout the process, we’ve been judicious about weeding through things and discarding what is not essential, but not yesterday. It was one big, old push for completion. Pretty wasn’t necessary, finishing was the order of the day.

I’m not the only one around here who isn’t sleeping soundly. I woke around 2:00 am on Sunday to find that H had gone missing. He was downstairs in the family room and patching holes where pictures had once been. I told him that he didn’t have to patch every teeny tiny hole. He explained that it was necessary in the family room because it’s red, and there were little white spots every place that a picture had been. He didn’t say why he had to do it in the middle of the night. He didn’t have to.

So we’re down to doing only what is necessary. There is time for nothing else. Sometimes life does that to you. Thankfully, this is a short-term period of “only what is necessary,” and something good comes at the end. When I’m not stuffing boxes, I’m daydreaming about what we’ll plant in the backyard. I’m looking forward.