"We're movin' on up, to the east side, to a deluxe apartment in the skyyyyyy ..."
Those words are lyrics to the theme song from a 1975 television sitcom, "The Jeffersons."
I couldn't help but sing them as we moved my niece, Jennie Rose, last weekend.
Jennie has officially become an adult. She's still not quite sure how it happened or that she's ready to be a grown-up but ready or not ... here it comes!
While Jennie has worked since she was 16, she just got her first real "grown-up" job. She is now, (trumpets please) the new community education manager for the Lancaster Regional Medical Center. It comes with her very own office, an impressive salary and most importantly to her parents (drum roll please) benefits! (Your whole family is very proud of you, Jen!)
Jennie just may be the most exuberant, positive, upbeat, friendliest person I know. But after doing a more than two-hour one-way commute for a couple of weeks, even our Jennie couldn't remain that upbeat about the drive. Thus, the move to Lititz to be much closer to her job.
Now my sister and brother-in-law, Jennie's mom and dad, often joke about raising three kids in today's economy.
Example: "They're blood-sucking leeches." George.
Example: When one of them comes to Diane for money, she mimes slitting her wrist and extending it toward them saying, "Here. Just take it all."
Example: "We'll probably move out of the house before they do." Both.
Well, one of the little birdies has left the nest. And while her parents may do the "Dance of Joy" for the public, inside I know they are going to miss her big time!
Example: Early Saturday morning, M-day (Moving Day) I get a phone call from Diane. "Where are you? You're supposed to be here holding my hand through this traumatic time!"
When I arrive amid chaos, Diane is wearing a strand of beads. They look a little out of place with her working/packing schleppy attire and frazzled appearance.
"What's with the beads?" I ask, wondering if she's trying to invoke the June Cleaver look.
Jennie comes bounding into the room, exuding youth, vitality and excitement, hugging me and yelling, "I'm moving! I'm so excited!"
She points to her mother's beads and explains.
"These are Mom's Positivity Beads. While she's wearing them, she can't say anything negative about my moving. It's all good!"
I see Diane roll her eyes and know her tongue will probably be bruised and bloody from biting it to refrain from uttering any negativity until the day is done.
Throughout the rest of the day, every once in a while I hear Jennie yell, "Mom! Beads! Positive thoughts!"
All in all, I was pretty impressed with her stamina, amazed the beads were still intact by the end of the day and not wrapped around her daughter's throat in a choke hold.
I well remember when Becky moved into her first apartment. There was such a mixture of emotions. I was excited for her because she was excited. I enjoyed helping her decorate her "first place." But it was also a very terribly sad day for me as well. Having only one child and knowing that once she moved out it would be the end of something never to be replaced, I felt sorry for myself. I was proud of her achieving independence, but I was afraid of letting go. I tried to not let it show but I sure could have used a strand of Positivity Beads back then. Now with her living in Texas, I need a boatload of Positivity Beads!
Jennie's apartment is adorable. She is beyond excited to have a place all her own to decorate. She has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen with a microwave, stove, refrigerator AND a dishwasher. She has her own washer and dryer and central air conditioning.
As she took us on the grand tour, I couldn't help but remember my first apartment.
Harry and I had just got married. Our first home was a very small apartment above a garage. No dishwasher, no washer or dryer, and one teeny tiny bathroom. It was so tiny, you could literally sit on the toilet and wash your face in the sink. For this Taj Mahal in 1971, we paid $70 a month rent. Our oil bill was 17 cents a gallon. A first-class stamp was eight cents, a gallon of regular gas, 36 cents; a dozen eggs, 53 cents; a gallon of milk, $1.18. A five-pound bag of sugar cost 62 cents, coffee was 98 cents a pound, and a pound of hamburger cost 62 cents. We could go to the movies for $1.50 each.
As in everything, those prices have moved on. Rent varies but is an average of anywhere of $700 and up. A gallon of fuel oil is about $3.59. I don't want to talk about grocery shopping. Yesterday, I had to take out a loan to buy hamburger to make chili. And can I just say that a few years ago I made the comment that if I ever get like my parents who took advantage of every senior citizen discount and did so with such joy, to please kill me. Guess what? I should be dead. Because today I'm scarfing up those opportunities every chance I get. I go grocery shopping on Tuesdays for the senior discount, take full advantage of the senior discount at the movie theater and if a place doesn't have a Senior Discount listed, I'm not too proud to ask. Oy vey!
In every aspect of life, we're constantly moving on. In our work lives, our family lives, our personal lives. Sometimes moving on is painful, sometimes it's joyful. Hopefully we grow and learn as we move on.
And perhaps we should all wear an imaginary strand of Jennie's Positivity Beads so when moving on, we face whatever we have to with confidence and optimism.