Jane Roper

Writer. Blogger. Hater of Olives.

On the Home Stretch

photo-11Holy moses, we’re moving in a week and a half.

Our house is officially a complete disaster area, half boxes, half business as usual. It’s a tricky thing to live in a place and carry about your regular routine and be simultaneously preparing to uproot yourself. And man, after eight years in one place, uprooting is a BIG pain in the ass. Like most Americans, we’ve got way more crap than we need, and while we’ve offloaded tons to charity, freecycle, and the junk man (I like to think of there being just one little old man who goes around carting away everyone’s junk), there’s lots that we can’t or don’t want to part with.

It’s strange, packing up the china closet and finding fancy serving dishes and bowls and things we got as wedding gifts that we literally haven’t touched since the girls were born. I look at them and think of how much younger we were when we occasionally used them as a kid-free couple, and yet how old and sophisticated we felt to have such grown-up things! And here we are, forty, much more grown up, and much too exhausted to host dinner parties with fancy serving dishes for friends who would have to pay sitters to come anyway. Maybe in five, ten years, we’ll use the fancy things again. And then not too long after that, we’ll be giving the same kinds of things as wedding gifts to our friends’ kids, for them to use for a few years before they reproduce.

Sunrise, Sunset! Sunrise, Sunset! Swiftly flow the days…

Yes, this is what this move is doing to me: In the midst of all the cardboard and tape and logistics, I have these moments of reflection and awareness that this is a Big Life Change. We’re leaving our first house, where our girl were born. And before we know it, they’ll be grown and out of the house and starting families of their own, and then we’ll move again, to some nice little condo with the bedroom on the first floor, and then we’ll be dead. 

And yet, I am so ready. (To move to our new house, that is. Not to be dead.) I will miss this dear house we’ve been in for the past eight years, but it’s time to leave. Mentally, in fact, I’ve already left. I got through the little surge of emotion and crying and disorientation and second thoughts right after we signed the P&S for the place we’re buying, and now I’m ready. Well, not totally ready. You never can be. (As poor Elsa, crying, said tonight: “I’m just not ready to leave my school yet! We’ve only been there for two years!”) But ready enough.

Speaking of transitions:

ClioJune14Only two more rounds of treatment to go for Clio. Two! After two years. This I really haven’t processed yet. No medications and plastic syringes cluttering our kitchen? No Lovenox shots before bedtime? No having to pack up a whole bag full of bottles and pills before we go anywhere? No more equating “fever” with “ER visit”? It’s crazy to imagine it all suddenly going away.

We’re coming right up to Clio’s Cancerversary. In fact, it was almost exactly two years ago that we first took her to the pediatrician to try to figure out what the hell was going on with her — the fevers and the worsening aches and pains. Lyme disease? Arthritis? Or — I know, I’m just being a hysterical, over-informed mother here, reading too much on the Internet, but please just tell me it’s not — leukemia? Oh, phew! Blood looks normal. Thank goodness. Now I just feel silly.  (Flash forward less than three weeks….at the ER on a beautiful late June morning, getting the news…)

Last year around this time I was very, very aware of all the “this time last year”s. This year, not so much. In part because, well, we’re two years out now, so it’s not quite as raw. But I think also because we’re on the brink of this big move. So this spring doesn’t feel exactly like the one before and the one before that. As a result, it doesn’t feel quite as haunted.

And I’m glad. I’m also glad that the move is distracting us — temporarily at least — from the fact that Clio’s treatment is coming to a close. (As we suspected it would.) There is still much to process and ponder — and write about — with regard to our crappy little boat trip. But for now, we are focused on the work at hand: Packing. And packing. And packing.

Have you seen that Sharpie I was just using? I know it’s around here somewhere….



Elsa and I went to look for a new sofa last weekend. (We didn’t end up getting this one.)




  1. What a big year this is for you guys! Just an amazing amount of huge stuff. Here’s hoping next year at this time you are all settled and boring and eating off your fancy dishes.

  2. The best part, next year it won’t just be Cancerversary, it will also be AwesomeNewHouseversary. We’re coming up on one year in our house, and it’s a great, great feeling.

  3. Love this: “and then we’ll move again, to some nice little condo with the bedroom on the first floor, and then we’ll be dead.”

    We’ll miss your old house, too–the little time we spent there–and can’t wait to see the new one, and to lounge on the new sofa (I heartily recommend Crate & Barrel or Room & Board).

    Congratulations on almost being at the end of treatment. Clio looks entirely joyful in the picture above.

    • My grandparents had that sort of condo, and it always depressed me a little — all their furniture crammed into this little space. But theirs was sort of dark and gloomy. When we do move into our little condo I want it to be SUNNY!!

  4. What a poignant piece (with the wonderful sides of humor thrown in).
    I’ll miss your house in one way (it’s where I got to know you all, although of course I wish we’d met some other way), but am so psyched for your big changes and to come christen your new digs with some mad bling 🙂

  5. I never got the fancy china for our wedding. I made it clear we did not want any. My mom is the hostess queen and has cabinets full of the real silver and china and glass and fancy party stuff that if I need I can borrow. And when she passes, it will be mine. So that works for us. I have never even thrown that type of party though. Only parties I throw are drunken hanging out parties where we don’t wanna use that stuff or kid parties where again we don’t wanna use that stuff.

    The one time I did use them was when I did a baby shower for my friend and my mom brought all that up for us to use and then packed it back away for me and took it with her.

    Good luck on the move. We plan on buying the one story condo too one of these days when we are old. haha. Congrats on almost being done with her treatments!

    • Yeah, we didn’t get fancy china or silver as gifts either — we have my grandmother’s. (And I love using it at holidays!) But we still got some fancy serving bowls and platters and glasses and that sort of thing.

      We have the drunken hanging out parties too. Lots of chips, beer and wine. Best kind!

  6. We’re moving too! I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to the old house and old neighbourhood so it’s a bit hard. But I’m thankful we haven’t had two years of cancer to deal with!

    Hope this move is a great fresh start for you!

  7. Good luck on the move Jane and Alastair. I t is an ordeal, but it also means new beginnings and a fresh look at life. And Clio being two treatments away from freedom of all that it has meant, is such a blessing. They say things happen for a reason. I often don’t understand why “bad” things happen to good people. But I do imagine that such an experience creates strength and deeper bonding. At least I hope something good can come out of it. God Bless you all. Vee

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