Tomorrow afternoon we will close on our new house. During our walkthrough today, our realtor beamed and said, “Are you guys excited???” to which I just replied with a slight smile and a, “Sure! I guess.” I’m almost positive that he hasn’t had someone as less enthused as I was in my response… Unless he was a realtor on House Hunters, and don’t even get me started on that show.
You see, our dream was never to have a suburbia home with a white picket fence that our children would grow old in. Ever.
Our dream was in Dublin, Ireland in a cozy apartment… with open windows that don’t need screens, ridiculous mini refrigerators and limitless Doctor Who episodes. A place where the rain doesn’t damper our spirits but instead awakens our souls, where friends who feel like family await, and scones and cappuccinos abound. Our dream is in the place that felt like home from the moment we stepped off of the airplane.
The reality of us not moving to Ireland sank in very quickly as we sat in the NICU when E made her appearance 10 weeks early… and was then was solidified when we received her diagnosis. E needs accessible and affordable medical care, E needs extensive therapies… E needs more than we would be able to give her in Ireland at her age. And though we KNOW this, and of course will do what’s best for her… it’s still something we grapple with. We watch our friends in Ireland have babies, or graduate school, or get Canadian visas. Their lives move on without us, and time seems to go so quickly, and it can feel as though we’re wasting away here. We sign up in support of our other friends who move abroad to do the work we had wanted to do. We pray, we give… but it doesn’t make the sting any less. We want to be in Ireland, but the answer to our prayers to “go” have been answered “no, not yet.”
So, in an attempt to find our own version of Dublin (and better medical care for E), we packed up and moved to a downtown location of a local city. We downsized our belongings and crammed the three of us into a comfy 800 sq foot townhouse. We were thankful to not have to travel hours to make sure E received excellent care, and very much enjoyed living in a city, close to local restaurants and museums. We made friends, settled into a routine. Though it was no Dublin, it was a wonderful fit for us… it was the reimagining of our original dream. It was good.
Then, we got a notice of our already very high rent being raised… and we were previously maxing out our housing budget. Then, a friend pointed out how often E had been sick since we moved here and wondered if the town house could be causing the sickness. Then, the quaint ABA center downtown we had pictured E in was unable to accept us and we had to send her to a center 25 minutes outside of the city. Then, we learned that our dream of an inclusive preschool for E would not be possible if we lived within the city limits. So, the “thens” added up, our dream yet again faded away, and we began to search for housing outside the city.
It didn’t take long before we found the house we will sign papers for tomorrow. Literally, it was in an email from Zillow the day after we decided to look. It is in suburbia, zoned appropriately, a fairly newer house (chronic lung disease kids don’t do fixer-upper houses), and has a white picket fence. The hilarity of that darn white picket fence is not lost on me.
So there we were: moving into a house that most would desire, and we were dragging our feet across the threshold.
Shame on us.
Now, after a time of soul-searching and conviction… we are making every effort to shake away our lethargy. We are thankful to have a safe place for E to grow, and a backyard with a creek to look at in the morning. We are excited to turn a cookie-cutter house into a place that is our home. It’s the place where we will bake scones and sip coffee on the patio. A place where we will spend our mornings in prayer, and our evenings laughing and talking at the dinner table. A place where E will laugh and cry and play and rest, and show us many more WILLs. I hope it is the home that we leave behind when we board the plane to Ireland… but above all else I pray that this home is the place where we will seek out the Lord’s purpose, plan and dream for us in a way we’ve never known before.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)