Written April 2, 2012.
Last year in March, just weeks before she was due, we sold our little log house in Broadview, Montana. “Nesting” for our fourth baby involved not decorating, but packing up the nursery. We listed our log house for sale in anticipation of a move to Osseo, WI, where we had a signed purchase agreement on a business property. At the time it seemed like an almost done deal, but we faced roadblocks at every turn, and the deal in Wisconsin ultimately dissolved. So when we finally sold our house in MT, we no longer had a specific final destination, although we knew we wanted to find something near my family in MN.
Just two weeks after our daughter was born, we packed up and moved out of our log house. It was an easy move, distance-wise, just across town to rent the church parsonage in Broadview, MT. The hard part was the long-term uncertainty.
Spring 2011, then, was a blur of newborn baby care and moving boxes. Moving chaos, a new baby, and living in limbo as a family of six sounds like a perfect recipe for post-partum depression, but that wasn’t the case. We were thankful to find a home to rent in our tiny town, especially with month-to-month lease flexibility. Grandparents just across the street and a neighborhood full of friends for our kids made the rental house a great short-term home.
Summer months sailed by with a baby on my hip and three kids to chase. Our newest addition spent the summer nursing and growing a nice, round tummy and plenty of rolls on her thighs for the swimsuit season. We played outside, visited Grandma and Grandpa, our kids shared backyards with neighborhood friends, I cooked constantly to keep everyone fed, and fought the sometimes losing battle of keeping the kids and house clean (barring chocolate syrup disasters).
As fall began, our baby began feeding herself solids, and we made a visit to MN that led to a signed a purchase agreement for what is now our home. School days mixed with months of stress and more uncertainty. We submitted literally hundreds of pages of financials to banks, made countless phone calls, and waited. Babies don’t care about any of that, though, and she happily endeared herself to all of her family in Montana, willingly accepting hugs and kisses from her adoring fans: grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.
Just two days after our little girl’s first Christmas, we got the best gift of all, closing on our house in Minnesota. We barely noticed that the winter snows never really showed up this year in the blur of making moving preparations. As I packed boxes, she gleefully learned to unpack them, scattering the contents on the floor and then abandoning them in search of a new conquest. Stealthily crawling into the bathroom and unrolling the toilet paper in the holder with smooth, efficient swats became one of her favorite skills as I tried to clean the house to move out.
And now spring is here again. One year ago our family in Montana helped us moved across town to a short-term rental, and now, a year later our family here in Minnesota bowled us over with not just moving help, but painting, wiring, plumbing, repairs, cleaning, and filling our wood burner while we were gone, all totaling up to countless hours that we appreciate beyond words.
Last week, just shy of our baby’s first birthday, we finally moved into our house here in Minnesota. Showing up unexpectedly last Sunday, we still had a yard full of cars with family eager to help us get settled in our house. On two hours of sleep after driving through the night, I walked through the house in an exhausted astonishment at seeing much of our house already unpacked by family who had unloaded a trailer load of our things a month before. Our kids played in their yard for the first time, chasing their cousins across the green grass in the warm afternoon sunshine, and our baby took her first nap in her new bedroom.