Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.
~Robert E. Heinlein
One Saturday morning we spent hours rolling bouncy balls into a cardboard box.
But this was not just any box. It was a soccer goal.
On one flap of the box, in my mother’s handwriting are the words: “Steph’s Baby Clothes.” This box has transported my history from Texas to Washington, from childhood to motherhood.
It has plastic Easter egg halves tapped to one flap as headlights from its life as a racecar. On the inside, there is a seat and a speedometer drawn in washable marker from its life as a rocket ship. The sides of the box droop from being pushed and pulled across the linoleum sea of our kitchen from its life as a boat. At other times it has also had smaller boxes tapped to it as trailers for a tractor and also a semi truck or a lorry as he calls them.
Often when it is not being used as a mode of transportation it doubles as a baby doll bed, a ferocious lion’s den, a little kitty’s home or sometimes a safe quiet place for a little boy who’s had a long day.
Not long ago it was just a moving box.
A few short months after I stopped wearing a wedding ring, too overwhelmed with life to bother labeling the box, I packed it with the random odds and ends of our house and carried our belongings to the threshold of our new life.
Eventually all the stuff we brought from our old life found a place in our new one, and all the boxes were recycled… all the boxes except this one.
At the time my son was enamored with rocket ships and outer space. I had decorated the walls of his new room with spaceship and planet stickers, and he assured me that this box made the perfect space rocket. Ok, I thought, he can keep it for a couple weeks. That was over a year ago.
Last week we sold our kitchen table as I continue to consolidate our possessions for another life changing move, this time across the country, instead of down the street.
My son watched excitedly as the table’s new owner brought in his tool kit to dismantle it for transporting, but when the table and it’s new owner left, suddenly there were tears. “I don’t want our table to be gone forever,” he wailed. I cried too. Neither do I I thought. This table has been a part of my son’s life for as long as he can remember. It is where all the important family decisions have been made, artwork has been created, meals shared, adventures planned, and now it’s gone. So we sat on the couch and I held him while we cried.
The process of moving has felt like getting divorced again, complete with the addition of grey hairs sprouting in abundance from my still-twenty-something head. And I have to keep reminding myself to not hold my breath, to let it go, like the box, like the table, like so many things on my to do list that I will never have time to finish.
Last month, when I was overwhelmed I told myself You’ve just got to make it through March. Just make it through March. Even March seemed like a lot to ask, but it was something, something I could measure, something I could see the end of.
So with all of our worldly possessions packed into a 5x7x8 plywood box, I collapsed into April. I had grand plans for Spring Break, but mostly I just slept. Back in the swing of work and real world obligations this week I am overwhelmed again with everything that needs to be done, and today I found myself saying You’ve just got to make it through April. Just make it through April.
I think how impossible it seemed that I would be able to fit all of my belongings into that wooden u-haul box and how once everything was inside there was still space for more.
Lately, a lot of things that seemed impossible end up better than I could have imagined, and I am humbled by the miraculous simplicity of making it through another day and waking up again with space for more.