Moving Maggy


monopoly 3

Eight boxes.

That’s how many they packed for their last move to a new apartment in Manhattan.

Thirty boxes.

That’s the number for the move three years later.

On Saturday, Pam and I helped our daughter and son-in-law, Maggy and Andy, move into their new apartment in New York. After years of renting, they finally bought their own home.

Besides all the lifting and heaving that has me popping Advil for my aches, helping your kids move into their first home is a moment fraught with reverie and nostalgia. The first home Pam and I bought was a three-bedroom white clapboard house with a breakfast nook and a bay window in leafy Geneva, Illinois. Our kids were moving into a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a pre-War building on 114th Street in Harlem. The more things change the more they stay the same: eight boxes to thirty. The accumulation has begun.

Moving is famously stressful, and it was for Maggy and Andy. They said they hardly slept the few nights before the truck arrived, but mostly it was simple excitement and so much to think about.  Would the new dining room table fit? Would their neighbors like them? Could they afford to redo the dingy bathroom?

It was all the excitement of a start-up operation. This was just their first house on Baltic Avenue. In time there would be more little green houses on the board, then a big red hotel. I remember that feeling. You buy a place you can fix up, sell and move into something bigger. You decorate somewhat for your own taste, but always with an eye to resale value. It was fun to be on the start-up team and remember those days. The joy of these moments is simply in seeing the life cycle make a looping spiral and come back to the same place, only twenty-five years later. It doesn’t matter that you “know better” now, and wouldn’t lose sleep over things like bathroom tile, wouldn’t triple your box count in three years. It’s just good to go back there and help the next generation pass GO and collect that two hundred dollars.

Parents and adult children get into conflict over control, Mom and Dad trying to tell the kids what to do, how to live their lives. Best just to be there, ask what you can do, get a bottle of Windex and start cleaning kitchen cabinets, keep your “suggestions” to yourself. With any luck, grandchildren will come along one day and then you will have an ally. As the old joke goes, the reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is—they have a common enemy.

In the mean time, it’s a blessed thing to see yourself—in your children—starting out once again on this long journey and noting with deep joy and assurance that it all seems to keep going, world without end. Amen.

11 Responses to Moving Maggy
  1. Matt
    April 7, 2014 | 7:48 am

    I played Monopoly with my kids a couple of weeks ago…the game has “evolved” however – you are given something like $3mln to start and charge everything on a credit card! I’m “only” 44 but man how things have changed (seems for the worse 6 times out of 10).
    A “child” moving into their second apt (buying in NYC impressive!) is certainly a big data point to get nostalgic about. I am not there yet but my son got braces 2 weeks ago, my 11 year-old is confiding in me about a “boyfriend,” and my 8 yr old is simply the Tasmanian Devil reincarnated… and I am loving every minute of it (Ok, that’s a lie but directionally true!). All 3 will fall on their faces at some point, and like you said so succinctly, “best just to be there.” My measure of success will be that they know I am.

  2. Pam Anderson
    April 7, 2014 | 8:09 am

    To be honest, we did tell them the couch they ordered was too big for the space and that maybe they should cancel the order, but we earned the right for that piece of advice!

  3. Jeffery Koller
    April 7, 2014 | 8:59 am

    From the Broadway (and later movie) Bye Bye Birdie, “I wish children could be like we where, perfect in every way”. Yeah, right.

    • David Anderson
      April 7, 2014 | 10:22 am

      Yes, aint it true.

  4. Maggy
    April 8, 2014 | 8:43 am

    I am always grateful for your support of absolutely everything I/we do. Thanks for cleaning my gross kitchen vent, and the light cover too. And thanks for the advice about the couch – I’m cancelling the order today and getting a smaller one. When you DO tell me something, I do listen. XO

  5. John
    April 8, 2014 | 8:44 am

    Parenting as spectator sport, cheering from the sidelines. Very hard to do. Most of us want to be a player-coach at least. Congrats to Maggy and Andy!

  6. sally johnson
    April 8, 2014 | 10:40 am

    I remember helping move my two daughters into a new apartment in Boston. The front door led directly to the tiny bedroom (horrors–dangerous!!); then a staircase led up to a large living-kitchen area with sliding doors out to a roof terrace (horrors!! dangerous, anyone can get in). Now they are married with children–all that worrying for naught!!

  7. clark johnson
    April 8, 2014 | 12:01 pm

    David, outside of the rememberances , of a generation ago,hope the Advil did the trick for you on tht strong young back of yours clark

  8. Sandy Oldfield
    April 8, 2014 | 1:01 pm

    Ohhh, this brings back so many memories! I moved 17 times in 31 years in my first marriage and thought I was the pro! Having helped Lis and Ted move TWICE in the last six months, I’m with you on the “best to keep your mouth shut”! And I already am discovering the joys of grandparenthood, the ultimate pay-off to not saying, “I told you so!”

  9. Johnna
    April 12, 2014 | 9:17 am

    Moving day and all that it brings. I hope my last move returns to eight box status…

  10. Johnna
    April 12, 2014 | 9:19 am

    Moving is always an adventure – and a good way to gauge the complexity of life. I hope my last move goes back to eight box status…

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