It should have been wonderful. After seven years of shared walls, small-to-nonexistent yards, and overpriced suburban life, we found ourselves moving into a house— a big old charming house in Small Town, Iowa, with quiet neighbors, a big fabulous yard, and a kitchen to die for. Should have been– the extra space, the hardwood floors, the two-car garage– and did I mention the kitchen?
Of course, no home is ever perfect, and we quickly discovered the flaws of our new place. The most awful shower head known to man. Plumbing issues. Hideous linoleum in the kitchen, which the landlord had promised to replace. A non-working garage door. Electrical issues. Lack of convenient phone jacks. And, of course, the fact that the entire upstairs of the house was completely unusable if it were cold or hot outside.
We accepted– or at least dealt with– the quirks of this big old small town house. We made it home. We played ball in the yard, lit sparklers, sent Ryan to preschool, carved pumpkins. And then I discovered I was pregnant with a little surprise. For three months I lived in a stupor of nausea and exhaustion, hardly able to enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas or birthdays or life with a family who grew used to me spending all my time in bed.
I was finally feeling better, finally getting excited about the new member of our family, feeling faint little kicks and flutters, when it was over as unexpectedly as it had begun. Our baby was gone.
The weeping in my bed, the coming home from the D & C so empty, the winter that would not end in spite of my desperate need for sunlight and warmth and fresh air– these are the things I have come to associate with that big house in Small Town, Iowa.
Over the summer our landlord started hinting about selling the house. Then, suddenly, we were asked to leave, caught in the middle of our landlord’s failing marriage. And God provided, beyond our highest expectations, a home with enough space and a fenced-in yard, within walking distance of work and school.
So we packed up again, leaving Small Town, Iowa and heading back to the suburbs and life with a shared wall. And as much as I hate to admit it, it was a relief to leave that house.
Our home now is smaller, but meets our needs better. The location is louder, but more convenient. And we have new hope as we survey our new box-filled surroundings. Two days before we moved I found out I’m expecting again. Life is sweet.
And as for what should have been– it pales in comparison to what is.