Mothers and movers: What could this unlikely pairing possibly have in common? Besides sharing (along with journalists) a high ranking in the completely subjective category of “Most Underrated Professions in the World,” I submit that they are practically one and the same.
To be fair, all parents can be included in this assertion.
The development of the “mover” in the parental role begins early, typically shortly after a couple learns they are expecting a little bundle of joy. While Polonius wisely advised his son Laertes in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” to “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” how many of us ignored that classic counsel and schlepped home hand-me-down strollers, cribs, playpens, changing tables and baby swings?
The memory of assembling our eldest’s crib for the first time remains vivid, roughly 23 years later. (What WAS that black bar for, anyway??) But we were merely on our first warm-up for all the moves (and furniture assembly and disassembly) that were, and still are, to follow.
Fast-forward 18 years and we were busily packing the family van for Son #1’s first semester at college. How delightful it was to discover his room was on the residence hall’s fifth floor! Naturally, the building was served by one elevator, steadily in demand by roughly 150 other first-year college students and their desperate, sweating (and sometimes swearing) parents.
Hence, we chose to incorporate the principle of “lifestyle fitness” and logged far more than the recommended 10,000 daily steps as we hauled bedding, clothing, books, storage units, laundry detergent, fans and much, much more ever upward to help the lad feather his nest for the year.
Of course, what goes up must come down, so roughly nine months later we had the distinct privilege of employing the reverse process to empty the space.
Last June we again defied Polonius and borrowed a truck as we moved bigger and better household items to the duplex our son was renting for the year with three housemates. In went a bed, a dresser, a desk, chair, lamps, cooking pans and a futon. (Fortunately, our backs didn’t go out.) Hey, honey, remember the hide-a-bed couch?
Autumn rolled around, and while our son was in still in place, this time it was our daughter in need of a move–and her first-year college room was on the 10th floor. No, we didn’t take the stairs, opting instead to leverage patience and strategy as we crammed load after load into the elevator at regular intervals.
Recently, I had the pleasure of assisting her in moving out on a rainy day; only as I type does it occur to me that perhaps tossing her belongings directly from the window to a mattress on the ground 10 floors below might have been a more efficient method.
And there’s still more marvelous moving to anticipate! Soon our son must vacate his duplex, so we’ll be reliving the start of last June in opposite form. Plus, our daughter will occupy a different residence hall for the summer, meaning another move-in date is imminent.
Quick and casual research revealed that, were we to be compensated at the rate of professional movers, we could have received between $960 and $1,300 for our recent efforts. Unfortunately, parents are put in the position of not only providing the physical labor for these moves but also paying colleges and landlords for the honor of serving as pack mules.
I feel more akin to Laurel and Hardy than a seasoned moving professional, but the amount of moving experience I’ve amassed in the past two decades surely should count for something.
To move or not to move? With young adults in the picture, that is never the question–but always the answer.