Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Intensity and Calm

As I look back upon our nearly 9 years of parenthood, it is clear to me that parenthood is composed of intervals: intensity, then calm.  The intensity of adjusting to the very first baby (which I still think is the very hardest part of it), followed by the calm of enjoying a new baby.  As new babies have joined the family, there have been periods of intensity during the end of pregnancies, or during the toddlerhood of twins (yes), but there have also been periods of calm in there, and when they come, they feel like the most welcome respite.

After a year of intensity, unlike any we have known, we have settled into a marked calm.  Zosia and Lily are old enough to be meaningfully helpful both around the house and with the other kids, the twins have blossomed into communicative two year olds, Hugo is happy to play with whoever comes his way, and Josephine is along for the ride.  Sometimes I find myself sitting in the sun drinking a cup of coffee and reading a novel, and think to myself, "Would I even believe this could be my life six months ago?"  No way.  (But to keep it real, we have a serial book ripper in the house who remains at large.  We really love books, so this is kind of a big crime.  I am not letting it get in my way, and have used the ripped off back cover of my novel as a book mark.  We will offer a reward for any information that leads to an arrest.)

So picture me, enjoying my "noticeable calm," opening the door to our property manager just after dinner one night, exchanging a few pleasantries before being informed that the owners of our house are selling it.  We have two months to find a new place and move in a real estate market that is so challenging for renters that it has been written about in national news.  If you are looking wide eyed and shocked, that is exactly what my face looked like as I ducked behind the door and, in my most sweet voice which probably actually sounded somewhat shrill called, "Sweetheart, I think you should come to the front door."  Because there are no houses for rent around here.  We learned that when we moved, and no way are we buying a house in this crazy housing market.

But I guess God has a good sense of humor, because just as I was busy casting myself as Mary in a depiction of the Holy Family, riding a donkey from door to door with all six of our kids in panniers, our property manager mentioned, "You know, there's this family I know who has to break their lease because they bought a house.  Their house is right up the street, and big enough for your family.  Do you want me to contact them?"  So fast forward a few weeks, we went by the house, we have signed a lease, and we will be moved to our new diggs before the kids finish the school year.  It has a seventies galley kitchen which I sort of love, is walking distance to all the kids' schools (because Hugo will be in kindergarten next year, you guys!  And the twins will be at preschool two mornings a week), and closer to "town" which I'll have to tell you more about one of these days, because it's pretty cute.  So all in all, we're feeling fortunate.   And we're moving in a month.  Which gives me a good excuse to do a thorough spring cleaning.  We're always up for an adventure these days.


Margo said...

oh my gosh, my heart sank when you explained the state of your housing! BUT WOW, you have a new place! So grateful to God with you.

You know, I read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand since Phoebe was born and I think I liked it but I have zero memory at all about it. Zilch. I think this is because of the life I lead right now keeping up with my family!!!

Adele said...

I definitely sat down and had a good cry before my ever optimistic husband explained all the ways this was going to be just fine. On the plus side, I *love* arranging furniture in a new place. :-)

I have a feeling I will be saying the same thing about this book one year from now: lovely, I am enjoying reading it, yet there's something about a newborn parent's brain that doesn't retain things for the long haul.

Julianne Van't land said...

What beautiful provision!

You have inspired me to make some tea and enjoy my book today as well. Too often I feel guilty sitting down while the kids play, leaving some task to wait or missing a chance to engage with the kids. But how good it is for my soul to have a little brain break!

Best of luck with the packing!

Michelle said...

Hi love! I'm sorry about the shock of finding out about the need to move but on the plus side, like you mention, there is another home ready and waiting for you. And it must be for the best, because why else would it happen? <3

Rachel said...

Wow. God is so faithful. We're in Denver. We totally get this. The market is nuts here. Congrats and praise to Him.

Lauren Oliver said...

What a story! I'm certainly glad of the happy ending. =) Happy cleaning, packing, and moving. Oh, and I believe a certain god daughter's birthday is coming up, so I better get my act in gear! O=)

Salomé Andrzejewski said...


I am a French mum talking about everyday life with other French women on a website called magicmaman. We all just wanted to let you know about a girl who has been using your life as her own for months. She introduced herself as Rachel, a French and Amerincan woman living in the US with her great family (husband and 5 children). She came to us about one year ago saying she was pregnant with twins - just like you in 2013. She has been actually using nearly every single part of your life as hers and sending us pictures of your family. She also signed up on facebook as Rachel Hastings and posted every now and them pictures from your blog.
(You can have a look from this link, there's a picture of you and your twins days after they had been born : )
That information might not be useful to you as we all don't know if you can do anything against it, but we really wanted you to know anyway.

I really am sorry to step in your conversation in this way.

Which is positive is that we have been given the opportunity to discover your fantastic and definitely inspiring blog.

Best regards

Adele said...

Salome, thank you for bringing this to my attention! How incredibly bizarre! I imagine it must be even stranger for you, who have just realized that one of your friends is in fact a fabrication! I'm not really sure there's any recourse to be taken, although it is certainly a lesson on the complexities of this internet age. On the bright side, I'm happy to have made a friend in France! :-)

Adele said...

I should say, enchante! ;-)

Salomé Andrzejewski said...

You're welcome :-)
Indeed, we were all really shocked and could hardly believe it at the beginning, for we had been chatting for months. It is also strange to know so much of your life although we have not known you until now.
The other mums and I were not sure if anything could be done. I think this might be possible for you to save your pictures so that nobody would take them out of your blog. But I am really not certain about that.
But as you say, on the bright side, we are all reading your blog now (or translating it from one to another, for some French mums hardly speak English).
I could ask the French website to erase all the posts with your pictures if necessary. Just tell me, this is quite easy I suppose. :-)

Salomé Andrzejewski said...

And I am "enchantée" as well :-)