Monday, 7:51 A.M.

Waking up to the alarm this morning felt like coming out of a coma. Or what I imagine that feels like anyway. I lured Brigham from sleep with the promise of mustard toast- don't ask- and started sorting go-gurts and pretzels into lunchboxes. Eric was already at his usual perch on the living room sofa, staring out the front window as kids with parents who are morning people walked past on their way to school.

I forget what they fought about over breakfast, but I know they did, just like I know they put their shoes on and brushed their teeth and combed their hair. The hatred and the rage that they regularly feel for one another is a part of life now, so common I only notice it when a plaintive maamaaaa rises above the raucous. Some days I wonder if they'll ever speak to each other again when they leave home. Truly.

Then the moment- me in my pj's in front of the open door, one eye on the dog doing his morning business, one eye on the two of them as they mosey toward the crosswalk. I open my mouth to shout at them to look both ways and that's when I see it: Brigham starts to cross and, almost imperceptibly, Eric lifts his arm, stopping him. The car passes and they're walking with the crowd, leaving me in my pj's in the front yard, holding the dog's leash, wondering just how much I know about those two and their little boy hearts.

This gives me hope.


Live from Atlanta:

One last peck around the yard before moving to their new home at Don and Emily's

Holy Cow. That was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Worse than wedding-planning and birthing children. Emotional and physical exhaustion like I have never known. But the worst of it (I think, I hope) is behind us.

I think I can now call myself an expert in stealth packing. Two days before we moved our house was in showing condition. That made for about two hours of sleep the night before we left, but it payed off when we signed a contract for sale literally 10 minutes before we hit the road.

It's all a blur now, but a few things stand out: Kathleen scrubbing cabinets like her life depended on it and ducking into the bathroom to cry. Eric bringing Marley home from Kim's, bathed, fed and wearing Aubrey's PJ's. Eric S. drenched in sweat and swearing up and down that he loves helping people move. Russ's breakfast fit for a king. Ann showing up out of nowhere and cleaning the oven. Becky calling "I love you" over her shoulder. Clint taking our picture on the front porch. Pam folding the load of laundry I didn't have time to dry. Crying into Lindsay's voicemail while driving down 85. My wedding dress on the seat next to me. Watching Mustang lay his head in Marley's lap in the rear-view mirror.

I kept my eye's locked on that yellow moving truck carrying my three boys and everything I own for 7 1/2 hours. We finally arrived to an eager crowd of young men from church ready to move us in. Our new neighbors took the kids to their house for pizza and cartoons. Jeff, Eric's old hall-mate from Duke, brought pastries and stayed until midnight putting together our beds. We slept the sleep of the dead.

The next day the landlady needed to come in the house for something while we were out returning the truck. I thought our house on Shady Lane was small, but this house is smaller. She called later to ask, in all seriousness, if we could really fit everything in, and to assure me that if not, she would not mind us breaking our lease. I tried to convey, in as non-hysterical a voice as I could muster, that I was not budging from this house for at least two years, I don't care if I have to take everything I own, including my Grandmother's fine china, to Goodwill. Just kidding- I don't have my Grandmother's fine china- luckily she's still using it- but you get the picture.

Two weeks later I'm amazed at how our things have taken to this little, old, quirky house. With a lot of purging, a little maneuvering and liberal use of the attic, we fit perfectly. I'm learning how to manage without a garbage disposal and getting used to the 8:00 school start-time. I can get myself to Publix, the train station and Ikea. Oh, Ikea, how I've missed you!

The neighborhood is unreal. The only way I can describe it is to say is that at 5:30, moms start knocking on doors looking for their kids. My little house alternates between sleepy silence and a cacophony of popsicle-wielding children, overexcited golden retriever and no-longer-napping baby. One day last week the four-year-old from next door came over while no one was here and watched Finding Nemo for an hour while I cleaned floors.

Mustang survived his initiation to city life: a close brush with a tractor trailer while running along busy Ponce de Leon. Marley and I stay busy during the day organizing (and un-organizing) the house, while Eric thinks deep mathematical thoughts and goes for barefoot runs on his lunch break at the Fed.

My heart is still aching for everything we left behind, but I think that maybe we can make this work...