So we moved.
When moving commences things are unearthed from the dark corners of the closet. You repeat phrases like, "How did we accumulate so much stuff?" and then you pack it up and move all that accumulated stuff to the next house's dark cornered closets. Or am I the only one?
I was pulling stuff out of dark cornered closets and out from under dressers where I'd shoved old memories I didn't know what to do with. The whole process of moving makes you revisit things and decide whether you'd like to keep them as part of your life or toss it and move on. It's tiring, it's lengthy, it always takes longer than you think, but when you're purged and moved into somewhere nice and clean and new it feels good. That's when growth happens.
We never quite unpacked in the last house. We were there less than a year. Let me tell you the story of this house.
Our good friends owned the last house we ended up renting. They bought it to rent out when Christian was just a baby, pre-accident, and when we weren't looking for anything to rent. Manny did some work on the house to get it ready to rent out and I went over there a few times and thought it was a cool house. It had a pool outside and fruit trees, it was tri-level like my aunt's house in Colorado, which I loved. But, again, we weren't looking to rent at the time so it wasn't something I spent too much time thinking about.
Then a few years later, post-accident, when we were looking to rent we asked if the house was available. It wasn't. I think we might have asked every year after that. It still wasn't.
Then last year it was available. Just like that. So we moved into it right away.
But it has stairs.
So? We aren't letting stairs get in the way. We'll just carry Christian up and down those stairs. No big deal! He's not that heavy, anyway.
But the pool? Aren't you scared?
No way! We aren't letting this scare us out of having fun with our kids! Christian loves the water! Now he can have some pool therapy and Lola can practice her swimming skills. We'll have parties in the back yard like before. We'll put up a fence, we'll put an alarm on the door so it sounds an alarm every time it opens and closes. We'll nail the doggy door shut. It'll be fine!
So we did all that. We carried Christian up and down the stairs to his room every day. We secured the pool area. It was on lock down. And, yeah, there was a doggy door that stared me in the face every day. But it had a very symbolic bolt through the latch so it would never be opened. We didn't have as many pool parties as we had long ago, pre-accident. In fact, no matter how big and bad and tough I thought I was when it came to having a pool, no matter how brave I tried to be telling myself I wasn't going to let it stop us from living our life, it didn't stop the ominous feeling I had when I looked at that pool. It didn't erase the imagery. It didn't give me warm, fuzzy feelings.
We tried it. We tried to go back. It wasn't just with the house but with a few other things that came up over the last year where I think we tried to do things like we used to. We thought for sure we could go back and it would be fine. But sometimes you can't go back. It doesn't make sense and it no longer works. We're a different family. And it will be that way forever. The rental became a symbol of a whole lot of trying to go back and be that "normal," fun family we used to be despite wheelchairs and therapies. It was a house with stairs that I wanted us to live in long ago but it didn't work. And sometimes when you try to go back, it just doesn't work. You find out that stairs are absolutely ridiculous with a wheelchair and pools just might always be ominous.
When we found out we were finally in a position to buy, it was momentous. We decided immediately we wanted no stairs and no pool. When we finally packed up it hit me that this felt just so right. Like I mentioned at the beginning, we never really fully unpacked when we moved into the rental. So packing up, although it wasn't the funnest thing, it was easier. Because we never belonged there.
Looking back over the past year I realized we had so many tests and circumstances where we tried to go back and we were proven time and again that we didn't belong in the past. We are different. Forever and ever we are different. And you know what? That's totally okay. Moving on from all the things I thought I wanted, moving on from the fear, moving on from things that don't work or things that don't make sense, it all feels very cathartic. And maybe we're not the old "normal," fun family. We're now different and fun. Definitely still fun.
Where we are now? This is home. It's where we fit.
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