Having lived in the (Bear) Swamp house for fourteen years, we had seemingly settled in for the rest of our days. Our grandchildren were nearby. There was room enough for them to visit for sleepovers. And though it was a bit crowded when we had the whole family there for holidays, especially Thanksgiving when the extended family descended for a few days, we didn’t feel too constrained. We had completed a major renovation of the twenty-three-year-old kitchen, and also added on a large laundry, full bath, and mudroom/office space with a walk-in pantry to the house just the year before. We were definitely settled in. Then life happened, and changes ensued.
Our daughter, after struggling through a painful divorce and its aftermath, and dealing with four children on her own, needed our help on a full-time basis. We had been helping a lot, because we were only seven miles away, but it still isn’t like having someone living with you and being there at night when one of the kids suddenly gets sick. She also wanted to go back to school full time and finish her degree in hopes of providing a better life for her and her children. There were also some extenuating circumstances that demanded our involvement, and so there we were with five more people in our medium-sized three bedroom house. To say that we were crowded was an understatement.
At first, we tried to make it work in our old house, but having three children in one small bedroom, the oldest being an almost teenaged boy, and the youngest being an eight-year-old (very sensitive) girl, and one boy in the middle trying to keep the peace, we soon realized that it wasn’t working. So, after grieving a bit over having to leave my secure little nest, we set out to find the “perfect” house. Of course, anyone who has ever had to do this kind of search knows that there is no perfect house. In fact, there were only two houses in the same school district that met most of our criteria. Our most pressing need was for more space, and we got that with this house. We almost doubled our living space, and though the decorating schemes weren’t to my taste, it was imminently livable and comfortable. The redecorating can wait.
We had to give up the barn, but the extra bay in the attached garage and the two-bay detached garage helped to store the things that we kept. It was quite the undertaking to scale down the junk we had accumulated over the years. A garage sale and trash pickers followed by a dumpster helped solve the problem. It is actually very freeing to purge in that way. I no longer feel the dread that I felt for years about what to do with all of it if we did decide to move. David had to come up with a new place to use for his sugaring house for his fledgling maple syrup business. That resulted in a brand-spanking new building built in about three hours by an Amish crew.
He’s a little peeved that there aren’t as many sugar maples on our property here as we had on Bear Swamp, but the neighboring properties have thousands, and he has already secured permission to tap as many as he likes from one of the neighbors. So, hopefully there will be lots of sweet maple syrup in 2015 to pour on the pancakes, waffles, French toast, and oatmeal.
Getting used to living with four children, from teenager to toddler, has been both challenging and rewarding. The toddler gives us tremendous joy. It is so much fun watching him learn and grow. He is our entertainment on most days. The older kids present their own set of challenges, but they’re nothing that we and their mother can’t handle together. They also help keep us young and they feel much more secure and happy in their new life with us. And that was the reason for this big change in lifestyle. When they are happy, we are happy.
See you soon.