My Biggest Regret of Our Move (So Far)


I know. I know! We haven’t even left our house yet and I’m already having moving regrets? How many more mistakes will I make?

Well, probably a lot, knowing me. I already have several, such as packing the nutmeg and all our paper plates and plastic silverware.

But my biggest regret came in like a wrecking ball. About five days before the moving company came, I spent one morning transplanting all my flowers from my Sicilian blue ceramic pots into smaller plastic pots. I washed all the ceramic pots to get them ready for the move, already anticipating how pretty they will look full of flowers on the steps of our new deck.

Then I looked at my flowers and suddenly worried that they wouldn’t last in the smaller pots for very long. They needed larger homes with fresh soil ASAP. So I took photos of all of them with my phone, posted them on our local “Craigslist” board, and said I’d give priority to the person that would take “all of them for $45!”


Within five minutes, they were all sold.

“Can I pick them up tonight?” the buyer asked.

My breath caught in my throat as I realized what I had done.

First of all, I had sold them for far too little, obviously. They were worth at least twice that. Dummy.

But secondly, and more importantly, I had just sold a gigantic piece of what made this house our home.

I definitely have a black thumb, but somehow I had managed to keep quite a few of these plants alive, and bit by bit — with gifts from friends and purchases from the plant man at the market — I had built up quite a garden. I filled our front entrance with forgiving succulents, brilliant bougainvillea, and a geraniums that were coming into their own in the perfect weather. On the back deck I had several plants that I had cultivated for years, slapping little hands away from their bright flowers and watering and feeding and adding fresh soil season after season.

And some had been gifts, like the beautiful houseplant my mom got for me right after Gil was born, the one she transplanted and positioned herself. And the succulents from my friend Becca, who left them in my care last year before their own move back to the States.


I shouldn’t have sold all those. I should have given some away, putting them in the hands of friends as parting gifts to say thank you, to leave a piece of myself growing and living and basking in the sun in Sicily.

But I didn’t. I helped the buyer carry all my beloved plants up to his car that evening, and I even ran after his car with one last plant (my mom’s, incidentally) that I had forgotten.

“I kept it inside until the last minute so the leaves wouldn’t break on the ground,” I said, breathless, as I handed it to him. The plant was beautiful: a Golden Pothos with long vines, a leafy waterfall. My heart broke just a tiny bit as I waved goodbye. “Good luck! I hope you enjoy them.”

Because I surely did. And I think, in the way that plants do, they enjoyed us too, and their short, sweet season in our little yellow house.


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12 Responses to My Biggest Regret of Our Move (So Far)

  1. Marmee June 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    I am so sorry. I hug you! I have had that kind of regret. I think your best consolation is imagining them in a beautiful, quaint setting making a lot of new people happy. But I know–they were your babies on a minor scale.

    • Becca June 27, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

      Yes, that’s true. The man who bought them was born in Boston and grew up in Columbia Heights, which helped somewhat! What are the chances?

  2. Lucy June 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    You are so expressive. I feel your pain, and know what it is like to move and to leave behind things I have invested in. I’m glad you have such beautiful photos of some of those plants. I love the one of Gil fingering the bougainvillea so curiously and gently. You took good care of them and loved them, and they in turn added a lovely dimension to your home. From the eagerness of that buyer, it seems like they will have a happy new home. Your investment will live on!

    • Becca June 27, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

      Thank you for this encouragement, and for adding to my collection. :) I hope you’ll help me build up a new one in Coronado!

  3. esther June 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    I have done this before. Not sold them. But given them all away – with all of my pots – in one fell swoop. The living badges of my patience in learning how to cultivate and the memories of the whos/whats/whens and wheres. It is heartbreaking. But I think it comes with the territory of moving, on average, once per year.

    I applaud you for giving pause and validating your regrets. Take time to grieve the small losses as you transition into your new life. Be kind to yourself and gracious as you may make decisions that you might later regret. This is living, after all!

    • Becca June 28, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      So right and true. Glad to know I’m not the only one who misses plants kind of like they were pets, haha. And yes, this is all a part of moving, and transition, and acknowledging griefs and losses, and life!

  4. Alise G June 29, 2014 at 5:03 am #

    Oh man, I feel your pain! Gardening is something I am working hard to do well at, and every happy plant is a battle hard fought and hard won. But the nice thing about plants is that even if you didn’t give them away or take them with you, at least the guy who bought them will enjoy them!

    • Becca June 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      So true! A piece of me living on here. I’ll enjoy remembering that down the road.

  5. Andrea @ TLWH July 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    Oh, when we moved from New Mexico to Brooklyn I had to leave all mine behind too (succulents! cacti! so many aloe vera plants!) and I was sick for months over it – I still can’t think about it too hard. Things that made your house such a home really feel like part of the family after a while, like part of your legacy. I know exactly how you feel.

    We ran into Home Depot this past weekend and decided to grab a few plants while we were there. I’m looking forward to making memories with these ones too. :) And we’ve vowed not to leave them behind should we relocate again. I just can’t bare to start over again.

    • Becca July 8, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

      Hooray for new plants! But yes, they are so hard to say goodbye to, and hopefully you won’t have to the next time you move!

  6. Amy August 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi Becca, where are you off to next? I’ve chatted with your husband a few times on linkedin although haven’t gotten a chance to contribute to his blog yet, but i’m also a Tufts vet graduate (although public health service, not military).

  7. Amy August 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Sorry, that got cut off. my sister as also stationed over there, she too misses her lovely deck plants but got some lovely ones started here in the DC area and is now in San Diego… but she left me her plants. It is hard with all the moves to keep plants, i think this new person will also treasure them in his own way and you will build your next place and home with more. Succulents are great! Best,


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