Shortly before we made the big move from NJ to Queens, NY, Eliza and I started to watch the first season of "Lost" together. Dear Reader, if you're still out there, perhaps you remember "Lost," perhaps you don't. I don't watch much TV but for however many seasons that show ran, I think I saw every one of them. I own the first and third seasons on DVD and whenever Eliza would come across them, she'd ask about the show and I'd tell her it was a show for grownups.
Maybe eight is not quite grown up but back in early July, I thought we'd try and watch the first season together. And like any good serialized show with interesting characters, Eliza got hooked. We sometimes watched three or four episodes in one sitting. If you're familiar with the show, then you know it's about a group of people stranded on an Island in the Pacific following a plane crash. What made the show great, especially in the early seasons, was the flashbacks that showed who the characters were before they landed on that island. We met all these people in the pilot in the aftermath of the plane crash, but their backstory and who they were before was fed to us in small bits. Each week would flashback and reveal a little about one particular character in the show. We found out some very surprising things. This woman had been in prison, that man had been in a wheelchair. But a lot of it was about the island itself, what a strange and often frightening place it was, how hard it was to be a survivor cut off from everyone and everything you once knew.
Sometime in June, I accepted a job that started in mid-July. I'd already put the wheels in motion to move back to New York so I needed a job in order to get an apartment. I looked and looked and applied for places I didn't get. On July 1st, with only two weeks to go before the job started, I brought the girls up to New York and spent five hours interviewing potential babysitters. I found several that I liked and quickly hired one. That night we looked at an apartment that was quite large, full of closets and felt like a pipe dream. One week later, we found out we were approved for the apartment and on July 15, the day before my new job started, I got the keys to our new home.
The girls stayed with C for our first few days of filming, then back at our NJ home for the last full week in July with C again in charge. On July 29th, I brought the girls back to C and our new babysitter started. The week after that, he took the girls to visit their brother for a week while the physical move of our belongings happened. The movers took close to 12 hours. I had packed over 60 boxes. My grandmother's dresser was ruined, the bunk beds weren't put together properly and I sat in my new apartment crying, thinking I'd made the worst mistake of my life. The girls had fun at their brothers and though they missed me, there didn't seem to be any urgency to return home. But then they finally did and for one week, they stayed here with me.
Suddenly I didn't feel lost anymore. My family was back. We had been working terrible hours but that week we didn't. I saw my girls every night before bed but Friday. They were happy--I was happy--the babysitter was happy. I felt truly convinced I hadn't made the worst mistake of my life.
Then Saturday rolled around and C came that evening to take them to his parents. I always hate when they gather with his family. I'm always worried that they'll have so much fun there they'll never want to come home. But at least when we had a real home, a home that they loved, they were anxious to return home. Now that I've brought them into this new world, a place where everything is so unfamiliar, they don't feel as at home with me as they did before the move.
I find myself wondering why I even did this. I felt like I had to. I need to work in order to support us and I couldn't keep working and expecting a live in babysitter to replace me. But now, in the middle of a terrible work week, I find myself wondering again what I've done.