Have Books, Will Travel

So… we’re moving. At least, that is the desired end result.

Last night my job was to prepare the house for our first showing… on about 24 hours notice.

After work I raced through Wal-Mart to pick up some of the Glade plug-ins YouTube is always advertising on my writing music playlists, a few Rubbermades, new rugs and shower curtains to update my bathrooms and some Windex. I got my children from daycare and then quickly fed them a gourmet dinner of chicken nuggets and tater tots before depositing them at a friend’s house for a couple of hours so I could get some serious cleaning done. (Thank you Cathy!!)

The largest task was cleaning and organizing the items belonging to the youngest two Zieba’s.  I started in the living room and quickly realized that the both the books and toys would not fit in the shelving unit. I made an executive decision and started piling the books into the Rubbermade. As I did this, I realized a few things.

  1. We have a lot of books. They easily outnumber the DVDs in our house four to one. Maybe even five to one. I also realized that I am ridiculously proud of this ratio.  

  2. As I stacked up the books, I realized that each one is a memory. Moments in time are pressed safely between their covers, just waiting to be revisited again and again. I relived the first time I read my first child I’ll Love you Forever. I’d read it before, but never to MY child. I had never understood why everyone cried at the seemingly simple and predictable story, until I read it to MY son. It was then I cried like a baby while blubbering to him, “Kameron, it turns out your momma is a sap, just like everyone else.” I relived afternoons spent reading in our deck tents, enjoying both our stories and a cool spot on a hot summer day. I relived the moments the books were given… for birthdays, baptisms, and just becauses. Each book packed away was like time traveling to each time it was read. Book by book, year by year, a childhood encapsulated in cardboard covers.

  3. By the time I was done in the living room and both boys’ bedrooms I also realized the 30 gallon Rubbermade was too heavy to move on my own (even when I tried pushing it across the carpet). It was a job I would need my husband to help me tackle.

When I looked at that tote, so full I could barely snap on the lid, I looked at 6 years of reading memories and love. I looked at a thousand precious moments. I looked at the foundation we built of a life of loving to read.

After I was done, I couldn’t help but go downstairs (where, thankfully, it was already clean) and gaze at my own bookshelf full of memories. There was the young reader’s edition of Heidi that I read at a fifth grade birthday sleepover while the other girls fought for most of the night. There was the copy of Speak I read as a high schooler in my front lawn and marveled at the problems that existed in our complex world. I smiled when I saw Oliver, Amanda and Grandmother Pig and struggled to remember who exactly got me this first beloved chapter book. Mom and Dad? Auntie Jan? Grandma? There was the entire set of Harry Potter books, the set I loan to no one, right next to the copies I do allow to leave my presence. My eyes pass over my growing collection of author autographed books. I count the titles on the shelf that I own, but have yet to read. (36, for inquiring minds).

If things go according to plan, these memories will also have to be boxed up. The moment will be bittersweet. We have spent the last 9 years in this house, with these jobs and these friends. Even though it is somewhat sad and scary to move on, we are excited for all the future holds. Knowing that we are taking some of our history with us, will make our new space feel automatically like home.

So last night I realized something else. Have books, will travel… and luckily the memories will come with us too.