For someone who has moved as often as I have, it’s odd to admit I have something of a phobia about moving. Whenever I’m planning a move into a new apartment or house, I reliably have a nightmare about some ghastly fact that I happened to overlook. Sometimes this nightmare exacerbates some actual flaw — like before we moved into our New York apartment, I dreamed that it turned out to be so narrow you couldn’t even fit furniture in it.
Before moving into our home in Providence, I had two nightmares. I dreamed that I came back to visit our house to discover it was actually on a major street, almost a highway. I also dreamed that the new owners of our New York apartment were able to convert it to a spacious three bedroom layout.
So it was with much anticipation that we finally moved into the house with just a handful of things before the ‘official’ move of all our worldly possessions. The first night in a new place (and I’ve been in dozens) can be a wonderful or horrible revelation. I remember waking up in the middle of our first night in New York wondering why people were honking at 4 am, only to look out the window onto 7th Avenue and realize that yes, there was enough traffic to perhaps warrant honking. After living there, I’d never imagine noise would bother me but a few years later on our first night sleeping on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, I actually had to go down to CVS in the middle of the night to buy earplugs.
Anticipating our first night in our Providence house, I tried to moderate my expectations — for example, I didn’t expect any of us (especially Madeline) to sleep well the first night in a big, old house after spending the last few years in modern, compact apartments. It will take time, I told myself. So I left several lights on, kept all the doors open, and got in bed. As we were falling asleep, we heard the comforting sound of some people chatting as they walked by the house. Because as much as I detest sirens blaring by my head at night, I fear silence much more.
And just like that it was morning. We all slept great, even Madeline. And there’s nothing quite like a peaceful night’s sleep to make you know you are home.