This week has been crazy and emotional, mainly because–after 43 years–my mom has moved out of the apartment where I grew up. She has left my hometown of Nutley, NJ to move closer to her grandbabies. My older brother’s family moved about 15 minutes north of us in May, and my mom is a bit north of them now. It’s a great new apartment; she has so much more room, and better amenities. She has never had a dishwasher until now, and she has a washer and dryer in her new apartment.

It’s a great change, but yesterday was moving day. And it was so tough. I’m still exhausted. Hannah and I drove up in the morning to say goodbye to the old place where I spent the first 18 of my 34 years. I took at least 100 pictures of the apartment and yard while it was emptied by the movers. Then we drove down and hung out with my mom while she was moved into her new place. I was really excited about the new place, but it’s been tough reflecting on such a huge change.

The view of the neighborhood outside the apartment. All of my first day of school photos were taken on those steps.

My mom was hanging out on the patio when we got there, trying to stay out of the movers’ way. We had a lot of cookouts and play time out there. We had a sandbox and kiddie pool as kids.

The view of The Mudhole from our backyard.

What kind of tree is this? My childhood friend David and I spent hours picking those little mint green berries off.

Someone in the hospital gave that tree in a small pot to my stepdad when he was fighting cancer. When he passed away, my mom planted it in the front flowerbed–right next to the front door. That was in 1995, this is that tree yesterday. I hope they don’t cut it down, but…I think they probably will. I wish I knew how to take tree clippings to replant, I’d plant it at our house.

First this was my brother’s bedroom, then it was mine. Then it was my mom’s sewing room, lol. My old cat, Clovis, was born in the closet behind the door.

 

My mom’s bedroom. I shared this with her when I was very young, before she met my stepdad. My friend Tracey’s older sister Tina used to lock us in those closets.

I don’t think I ever even realized the bathroom was this color. My mom always had it covered with blue towels and colorful shower curtains.

Dining room. Holiday dinners, Sunday breakfasts. A classmate closed my foot in that back door when I was six (rough stone step down). I had to get stitches. It used to have a screen door that didn’t fit quite right, and our old cat Maria liked to stalk birds in the space under the door..

Living room. All my slumber parties and dance parties. My brother spent a lot of time in here watching Santa Barbara after school while I begged to watch cartoons.

I can’t believe my entire childhood, from birth to college, fit in that short hallway.

The World’s Tiniest Kitchen, all my birthday cakes were baked or frozen (thank you, Carvel) in here. I stood on a stool helping my mom and my Nana cook. There was a lot of hospitality in there. Last time I’ll see my mom in it.

That’s…the end of that.

My mom made really a pretty great life for my brother and me here, and she did it on her own. We were often cramped, and we were often the only of our friends not to live in houses, but it was no less a home. A great one that I’ll miss.

On to the next really exciting chapter for her, I am pretty thrilled for the move.