Bookcases make me cry – seriously!

bookshelvesIf you follow me on Facebook or twitter, you know I finally got some bookcases for the house. We ordered them over a month ago, and they finally came in.  I also posted a bit about them in yesterday’s five minute Friday writing prompt (enough).

I was less than enthusiastic about having to rearrange the 60 identical boxes my husband had stacked (label side to the wall) where the bookcases needed to go. As I started digging in, the boxes split pretty evenly between kitchen stuff, clothing and shoes, books, and random stuff thrown in a box. Three of those categories were pretty easy to deal with. The random stuff… well, I’ll ignore it for now.

I was totally ecstatic about the bookcases. I almost couldn’t sleep the night before they arrived. I was looking forward to reunions with long lost book friends. I was eagerly anticipating access to my cookbook collection. I was excited about my children having new books to read. I was excited to think about the floor space I was gaining by unpacking 20+ boxes of books.

I’ve been wanting these big bookcases since my husband and I got married – well over ten years. So the bookcase arrival was a really big deal for me.

What I wasn’t expecting was the emotion.

I was a total absolute emotional train-wreck over those bookcases.

look at all those boxesThe bookshelves arrived by about 9am. By noon, I had unpacked half the books. By 1pm, I was bawling my head off.


I spent some time in a fetal position, took a little nap, read a few humor blogs, pinned some pretty stuff, and then I started to think. I flipped back through the photos from the past two years (since before the remodel started). I re-read some journal and blog entries. I scanned my calendar. I contemplated wine (we’re out of it).
To the best I can figure, some of those book boxes were packed in January 2011. It’s now July 2012. That’s roughly 18 months!!!!my beautiful bookcases!

As I unpacked books, I did discover old friends. I found the copies of the Narnia Chronicles I’ve had since I was ten. I unearthed a bible I thought I’d lost. I discovered an overdue library book. I found the last book in a series I’d forgotten I was reading.  It was a joyful reunion, and I celebrated.

I also found tangible evidence of a life put on hold. It’s the first time I’ve really been confronted will all the little costs of our remodel.

  • The book I purchased with every intent of attending a group bible study but couldn’t because we were unexpectedly 30 miles away.
  • The “getting ready for Kindergarden” workbook that is now inappropriate for my almost first grader.
  • The third through seventh books in a series my son has been begging to read for a year.
  • The beautiful cookbook I received for Christmas in 2010 and have never opened.
  • The book on micro-photography that is covered in dust from a passion I’ve ignored for two years.
  • The manual on jewelry making that was useless with all my supplies in storage.
  • The pile of home organization books that were totally inapplicable during a remodel.
  • The stack of decorating magazines with my “dream house” pages marked, each one now obsolete.
  • The “dummies” book for a software package that has had two revisions since I packed. The software is still unmastered.
  • A gift book I’d purchased with plans of giving to a friend who has since moved away.
  • The pile of fiction books that I now own digitally.
  • The slim worn devotional book that I replaced in desperation because I should never have packed it.

order from chaos.  i'm home.Undeniable evidence of a life on hold? Or simply evidence of paths not taken? I read other books, cooked other foods, found other passions, completed other bible studies, and even found other ways to prepare my son for school.

While our life was interrupted, it certainly wasn’t on hold. We took vacations. The kids played sports. We made new friends.  In spite of the chaos in our lives, we kept on living.  Even though I felt uprooted, shaken, and sometimes homeless, we lived our lives as best we could.

Our life during the remodel has been different, but not empty.

Yet, there are periods of emptiness. I can point to the times I spent in my pit and I know in my heart that my family’s life was on hold at that point. There are weeks with nothing but pit. There are weeks with no alternate hobbies or books, no new adventures, no friends, no cooking, and no living.

So I’ve cried tears of grief for those weeks in the pit.
I’ve cried tears of sadness for the paths not traveled.
I’ve cried tears of joy for the reunion with old book friends and the milestone this represents.

I’ve cried tears of healing and acceptance and am ready to move on.

I’m home.


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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Your bookshelves are beautiful and I can’t wait for you to be all settled in so you can curl up with one of those cool books. As for the software one that has already had 2 revisions, I can totally relate and my house is not under construction! Somehow I can never get to the techy stuff in time!

  2. awww, what a beautiful post

  3. comeoverforcoffee says:

    Welcome home. I get it. Thank you for sharing it.

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