This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.
The house we bought in Texas had just two bedrooms, but also had two full bathrooms. Major plus! It also had plenty of closet space, and as I mentioned previously, a kitchen with more storage than I’ve ever seen. Storage was never an issue in that house.
We lived in that house for five years, and over the course of that time, we had eight separate living arrangements. I know, that’s nuts. But here’s how it went:
- We move into our new home. The master bedroom is our space, the front bedroom is for guests. There is a huge walk-in closet off of the second bathroom, and both that bathroom and the closet become my husband’s space. I get the smaller closet adjacent to the master bathroom.
- My sister, brother-in-law, and their four kids and two cats move in with us and our dog. They take over the front bedroom, the second bath, and the large walk-in closet. The two of us figure out how to share the smaller closet. Me being pregnant helps in this area, since I was already wearing maternity clothes at this point. I didn’t want to buy tons of pieces, so my wardrobe is pretty small. The kids sometimes sleep in the living room, sometimes on the bedroom floor. I don’t know how they made it work. I was dealing with massive morning sickness and exhaustion, so spent half the time in our bedroom. Their youngest daughter starts learning to walk in our living room, scaring the crap out of us when she starts to climb onto the hearth (a good 18 inches high, made of brick) and standing on it!
- The extra folks find a home of their own in Texas and move out (half a block away). Our front room becomes a guest room again, but we are also preparing it to be a nursery. Christmas comes and goes. By February, I am in the hospital with my blood pressure going up (where I remain for five weeks). Meanwhile, the front room gets painted and redecorated to prepare for the baby (but still includes the guest bed).
- Samantha comes home a week after she is born. I haven’t been home in six weeks. I am exhausted from the c-section and from weeks on end of bed rest, and having a newborn is hardly restful. Five weeks later, Samantha gets sick, and we spend more time in the hospital. At this point, I think I forgot what our house even looked like.
- Hospice. If you’ve never experienced having hospice care for a loved one, this is the bottom line: it’s like having a hospital wrapped around your house. We moved into the front room and used our bedroom as a guest space, so that we could be close to our daughter all night long. Our daily schedule involved her care and medication, visits from the nurse and from folks bringing us food. My sister’s family spent lots of time at our house.
- After Samantha died, the house returned to just being us again. It looked like phases 1 & 3 and yet felt nothing like it. We gradually removed the baby things from our home, as we felt ready to do so.
- My father-in-law moved in with us. This, like each of the other phases, will be expanded on in future blog posts. He was in our home for a year and a half. I’m not sure I can say much else right now.
- He moved out again, and we spent the last year and a half in the house with it just being the two of us. During this time, our life outside of the house shifted significantly, but inside the house was our refuge.
In all of that time, we were able to spend Christmases, Thanksgivings, Easters, and birthdays. We somehow crammed everyone in the family into our dining room for dinner on more than one occasion. Our living room was fantastic for opening Christmas gifts. We welcomed and said goodbye to our daughter and to a rescue dog. Our niece learned to walk. My parents and his dad stayed for shorter and longer periods of time. We hosted the husbands of our PLI cohort and a few friends. Life was LIVED.
Leaving that house behind was probably the hardest part of moving away.
Next post coming soon.