So, we're moving.
I've been waiting to tell you until the sale on our current house was final, but it's been so hard not to share what these past months have been like. You, my dears, are such a huge support to this family, and I want you to be in the know.
On surface it would be pretty easy to say, "Oh, good. Their old house probably has a lot of painful memories and it's great for them to get a fresh start." But the thing is, this house doesn't hold a lot of painful memories. It holds memories of a lot of laughter and love, which thankfully continue today. This house helps me feel close to the family that we once were, back before we knew the things we know now.
There's the thread still hanging on the back of my bedroom door where we attempted to pull out Margaret's first loose tooth, with Jack jumping up and down in excitement, Shadow getting her nose all up in the video camera, and Margaret shrieking with delight and terror as we slammed the door shut and...nothing happened. It would be at least a week before the tooth finally gave up the ghost.
There's the basement where Tim and the kids would set up games of "Rat Race," making tunnels out of sheets and chairs, and chase each other on their bellies through the maze, pelting each other with wadded up socks. There's the family room with the leather couch where we always sat lined up in a row: Margaret, Tim, Anna, Jack to watch America's Got Talent. There's this office, that used to be a laundry room, where for some reason in January 2008 I thought it might be fun to write down some thoughts about parenting and share a few house projects on something weird called a Blog. And of course there's the kitchen counter where the kids sat on stools and did their homework, or stood on their stools and told me about their days. And don't even get me started about the yard and the climbing trees.
Tim, Margaret, and I are "bloom where you are planted" people. So was Jack. I guess the fact that I live in my hometown even though I have no relatives left here, go to the church where I grew up, and even work there part-time, could be an indication of this. Jack loved this house and neighborhood so much that he didn't even like to leave it and his friends to spend a day at our pool across town. Whenever we traveled as a family, our first words in the door were, "It's good to be home." And this is our home. And it makes me smile.
So the decision to move was hard. I don't want to leave Jack's bedroom! I don't want to leave what we had here! I don't want to put our lives in boxes because it will become clear in the next house that some of the boxes don't need to be opened again, and I hate that. But the decision was mine, and I didn't come to it quickly or easily. There were just certain aspects of staying here that kept me from blooming and I don't think that was good for any of us.
Back in January we found a house that we loved that would enable us to be on a street with many of the friends who have walked beside us in our pain. Who knew Jack and know our story. There would be cool house projects to help get my decorating mojo back. It felt like we were running TO something positive rather than AWAY from something, and that felt good. Until the deal fell through.
Then we lost another one.
For a while the only house available in our price range was our current one, which sort of defeated the purpose. Tensions ran high.
We jumped on the next one that became available. Jumped! Which is unlike slowpokes like us, but we were anxious to be settled before school starts for Margaret, and it was getting too close for comfort. It's a lovely, well cared for house. The master bathroom will make you drool.
It's farther out than we were looking for, which takes us out of our immediate circle of friends. That makes me nervous, because we've grown very close to our friends since the accident. It will mean introducing ourselves and answering the question, "How many kids do you have?"
The funny thing is, the new house is almost the exact floor plan of our current house! I think that's what helped us jump on it and make a quick deal in a very competitive housing market, like within MINUTES. Margaret got on board because she could picture it, you know? We could already figure out where the Christmas tree would go. My office is right here, just over there. So it's kind of like our house was plopped down somewhere else. Interesting.
If I'd been able to share this BIG news with you earlier, you would have had to go through the stress of getting our house ready to sell, seen where Tim and I drew the battle lines with each other as we spackled far into the night, and rooted for Margaret as she had to adapt to a reality she didn't want to face. That we really are moving and she's coming with us.
I don't know what the next weeks hold, but I have some specific things I would LOVE for you to pray about.
1) That moving does not end up being THE THING. I keep wondering what the thing will be that will ultimately push me over the edge. That will extinguish the flicker of hope that has been present since day one, even in tragedy. Maybe there won't be a THING. But I am a bit worried.
2) In the space of one week we will move from the only home Margaret remembers, she will start middle school at a new school (!), and on the 2nd day of 7th grade she will outlive her OLDER brother.
I know. It's a lot.
It's easy to second guess. It's easy to sit here at my desk and say of course we should stay. We are comfortable here. This house is what we know. That it's been almost two years and we really can handle anything at this point, so why not stay?
And what if we feel even more disconnected from Jack there? To live in a house where he's never been is kind of like starting a new year that he's never been in. Suckish. But do-able.
So there's a lot to pray about.
I guess the biggest prayer is that we will BLOOM.