Christian and his family left Colorado a couple of weeks ago on their way to their new home. They’re due in Portland on June 1, so they’re taking their time. Their first stop was at Amy’s mom and stepdad’s home in New Mexico. After a short visit, Christian and Amy left the kids with Grandma and Grandpa and hit the road. First they met friends in Las Vegas for a few days, and then they met more in San Francisco. I’ve kept up with their progress through Christian’s blog along with the rest of his readers, but even that has been sporadic as he and Amy use the time to kick back, relax, and get ready for the busy new life that’s waiting for them.
When they get to Portland, they’ll find a furnished apartment and send for the kids. After their house in Colorado sells and they’ve become more familiar with the city, they’ll look for something more permanent and move their belongings from Colorado. Until then, they won’t have a large house and yard to care for, and they’ll have more time and energy to devote to their new jobs and their family.
When Christian was 7 years old, our family was in a similar situation. In order to cut two hours of commuting time out of our schedules, we were moving from one Dallas suburb to another. We found a nice neighborhood-to-be, chose a lot, and put a deposit on a house. Assuming it would take a while to sell our old home, we put it on the market immediately. You know what they say about assuming. The first person who looked at it bought it and wanted to take possession right away. Our realtor had a client who was willing to rent her place to us on a month-to-month basis, so for several months we lived in a tiny two-bedroom townhome instead of a spacious two-story house.
We squeezed all our earthly possessions into half the space they had previously occupied, and it was a real squeeze. My husband had a home office, and by the time we put his executive-sized desk and our king-sized bed into the master bedroom, we had to crawl across the bed to get to the bathroom. We packed everything that wasn’t absolutely essential, and the living room walls were lined to the ceiling with boxes, further narrowing the space. The upside of the arrangement was there was very little area to clean, and because the townhome association maintained the front yard, and a covered deck took up most of the tiny backyard, there was no outside work to do. In addition, summer vacation had just started, and we hadn’t signed Christian up for any summer sports, so our only priorities were to take care of our day jobs and spend time having fun. We went to Six Flags several times, we saw a lot of movies, we spent a lot of time at the community swimming pool, and we laughed a lot.
One afternoon in particular stands out. We had lunch on the deck, and we had watermelon for dessert. Christian wasn’t overly fond of watermelon, so he fiddled with his serving until his dad got his attention – he spit a seed at him. Screaming with surprise and delight, Christian crammed his mouth with ammunition, and the war was on. Seeds flew and we laughed ourselves silly until the ammo was gone and we were all covered with a sticky residue. While the boys showered, I hosed down the deck, washing the seeds into the little cracks between the boards. A few weeks later, we were surprised to see tiny green shoots peeking up through the cracks. The watermelon seeds had germinated and were looking for a little sunlight. We didn’t stay long enough to see if they matured, but it was fun to see the results of our impromptu battle.
I’m hoping that Christian and Amy will find some time between getting settled at home and getting oriented to new jobs for some silly family time. With the two lively kids they have, there’s lots of silliness anyway, but sometimes it’s hard to enjoy it under the pressures of daily life. We all get busy with the things we should do, and we try to squeeze in a moment or two for the things we want to do, but too often we don’t leave time for the unexpected things to happen. I think we’d all be a lot happier if we took a break now and then, spit some watermelon seeds, and watched to see what comes up between the cracks.