When I was pregnant with my first child, I had a recurring dream: I would wake up one morning and the baby would just be there. No labor, no warning, just BAM! — baby. I would look at this new baby and think “But we’re not expecting you for months! We’re not ready! We have nothing!” It was overwhelming and panic-inducing.
We just found a rental. We’ll be moving out of my mother’s house, where we were taking up her guest room and guest bathroom and about a quarter of the living room, and into a 4-bedroom house that’s only a little bit smaller than our house was. In the month that we’ve been here, we’re rebuilt our wardrobes to some extent (a HUGE shoutout to the folks at CP Shades who sent me boxes of beautiful black linen that I’m wearing right this minute), but we haven’t replaced anything from our kitchen (except some tea things, because TEA).
So now I’m trying to figure out what I need to outfit a kitchen that has nothing. Not a bean. Not a grain of salt. Not a speck of flour. My husband and I are avid cooks, and my spice drawer (which held only the spices I used most often – the rest being in the pantry) made me really happy.
I know we can’t possibly go from this to nothing and back to this. But my brain is breaking trying to think of all the very most basic necessities I have to acquire. Salt. Pepper. Flour. Sugar. Butter. Rice. Meat. Vegetables. Bread. Part of me is afraid that I will forget something crucial, which is stupid because there’s a Safeway less than two miles from the new house.
But I have the same feeling as I go through my wardrobe. Part of the insurance claim process is documenting everything you’ve lost. The company we’re working with has given us a spreadsheet with everything a normal household would have in it. As I go through the listings, it’s really hard not to think “I need to replace that right this minute.”
I feel like I can make myself feel safe and whole again by surrounding myself with the things I had before. It’s not like I had a huge emotional attachment to those particular things (who has an emotional attachment to a bag of flour or a bottle of oregano?), but I have a very firm attachment to the life that required those things, and maybe I’m afraid if I don’t come up with exactly the right combination of stuff, that we’ll suddenly be miserable. Is this feeling common to people who have lost everything? I have no idea.
I’m fine. I’ll be fine. Even if I have to run to the store because I forgot eggs, all will be well.