Almost 11 years ago we moved into our former home. We were elated with the space, the prime location and the shiny wood floors (which peeled within a month, the landlord refused to fix it after two terrible coats-foreshadowing much?) We felt like grown-ups, Mark and I.
We arrived with only our beds, an old computer desk and a few pieces of antique furniture. No couches or chairs. A handful of towels to our name. We didn’t care, we were happy and healthy. Mark was driving, full-time, for UPS with four weeks of paid vacation a year and a 401 k. I was working retail, just about full-time and could kick myself for thinking that I was fat and ugly back then, at about 60lbs lighter than I am right now. Connor was three years old, healthy as anything I could have ever hoped for, and thriving in preschool.
We didn’t know much about pain…or debt…or loss…or Urea Cycle Disorders. We thought that we knew what stress was…oh my, weren’t we so cute? We were an unbreakable trio. I know I already said this…but when I think back to that time I just think…happy.
We made so many amazing memories in that house. Many of you that are reading this blog right now were a part of those memories. You were here for birthday events, after concert parties, Thanksgiving dinners, store closing gatherings, BBQ’s and tons of episodes of LOST or Survivor. You made us so happy, I want you to know that.
Eventually though, things started to get uncomfortable. There were issues with black mold in the basement, shoddy electrical work, rotting windows and leaking roofs. We realized, pretty quickly, that what we rented was a house with a big shiny band aid on it when we walked through.Our back patio crumbled, the stairs began to wobble. We watched long cracks appear on the ceiling and travel the length of the house in short amounts of time. We had the ghetto house among the rest of the “Leave it to Beaver” neighborhood.
The location though, so sweet and our neighbors? Even sweeter. They never judged us for the house’s disrepair. They invited Connor over to swim on hot summer nights and brought him treats and gifts at Holidays and Birthdays. There were long conversations on porch swings and standing at our fence. The backyard was just what we needed for a growing boy and we became complacent. We overlooked the crumbling issues for years and years, too scared to leave the comfortable (let’s face it, CHEAP) rent and went on with life.
2007 arrived and when those two pink lines appeared on that pregnancy test we knew that our time had come to make a change. When I was 8 months pregnant we made great effort in cleaning out the basement, in anticipation of moving should something come up that would suit our needs, and I rubbed my stomach and smiled as the dump truck drove away with so much junk. Life held even more promise.
You know what happened from there though. Life got…complicated. After Corrigan’s diagnosis we were living day-to-day, making 3 hour round trips twice weekly (at times) to Baltimore. We were managing a life threatening disorder and a middle-schooler. Mark had not been working for UPS for some time now, due to a life-altering back injury, and was on his 7th year (and counting) without a week’s vacation, we suddenly had a very clear picture of what stress really was.
Moving just seemed too overwhelming even though it was becoming clear that our house was unhealthy. There were memory issues and concentration problems. There were space issues because we only had two bedrooms and Corrigan was up 20 hours a day. Connor didn’t have any space to breathe and we were all feeling crowded and cranky.
I believe in perfect timing. I believe that God put us here, in our new house, just when He thought we needed it most…when we would appreciate it most. After a year of unemployment and depression, He put us here where we feel healthy and happy again.
Oddly enough, we moved in while Corrigan is nearly the same age as Connor was when we moved into our former home. 35 months old. Life is weird sometimes.
I knew that I had a photo of Connor, sitting on the heating register at our (old) new home in my firesafe and I told everyone that I wanted to duplicate it with him sitting there again, before we had to turn over the keys and I meant it but I got busy and nearly missed the chance. Petra reminded me about it, encouraged me to get over there even if I had not been out of my jammies all day, even if Connor had 18 hours of homework to do (in three days!) before he left for his trip to Florida. No excuses, she said.
So I did.
He is going to be 14 in July. Nearly 11 years later, this is my first born son. I can hardly believe my eyes. He is still the same sweet-natured, smart-as-a-whip kid that he has always been. He is a good boy in a time when most 14 year old boys are not usually described so positively. He is helpful and handsome. He is Connor.
Tomorrow I take the old house keys to my former landlord. I won’t feel sad, I have been back over to the empty house several times in the last month and it is just a shell. The things that took place there are all tucked inside of my head, or captured on photos that are slipped into photo albums. This new house is already home. I am ready to make many happy memories here. I think it is about time.
I love new chapters.
Would you share a happy memory that you recall with us at our old home?