Autumn and moving and life

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.

Susan

13 thoughts on “Autumn and moving and life

  1. Susan, you and your husband are nothing short of fabulous! If more families did this, the world would be a much better place. I love seeing photos of the littlest guy on Instagram as he explores and grows. Much love to you and your family. xxoo

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    • Cindy, we’re enjoying having the grandkids with us at this stage of our lives. David, being retired now, is able to experience so many of the things he wasn’t able to with our children, because of work and travel. He and Joshie are big buddies. 🙂

      Much love to you and yours. xoxo

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  2. Susie, you have no idea how happy (and amazed!!) I am to see you back in written form. Just last night I was thinking that I don’t see you in the habitual places any more and was wondering if all was well. And then this – and what a delight it is to read you again.
    It’s pretty wonderful how you and David jumped in to help, and you should never, ever ask yourselves that angst-filled existentialist question of ‘Why are we here?’ The proof is in the pudding.
    I do admire you. I know, I know, you shrug that kind of stuff off, but don’t. In plain words, you’re good parents. You give, and you love, and you encourage and support. What child could ask for more? Plus you’ve got a wicked sense of humour.
    Man, you’ve almost given me a taste for going back to blogging. Very, very happy to have had your post land in my inbox.
    Big hugs! (and ignore that email address. It’s what I have to use now that I don’t have a Blogger account anymore)
    Deb

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    • Dear Deb, you always know the right things to say to lift me up. We are so happy with our life right now. Sure, we miss a few things about our former one, but not enough to give up what we have. We’re going to relish it for as long as it lasts.

      I wish you would write for your blog again. I love reading your observations, and especially your travel pieces. I live vicariously. 🙂

      Love, love, love,
      Susie

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  3. Wow! No wonder we haven’t see you around! You are awesome parents and grandparents for giving so much of yourselves to the family. My parents moved 5 minutes away earlier this year and it has been heavenly having the support. Sounds like you are all in a good place.

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    • Hi Stacy! So glad to see you here! That is so great for you to have your mom and dad nearby, and I’m sure they’re enjoying the added time with your little guy. How old is Gage now? I’ll bet he is a real cutie.

      We definitely are in a good place right now. Wouldn’t trade it for the world!

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  4. There is no love greater than this. You love your family and are willing to do anything to help them out. It’s remarkable and as it should be. It’s true, if more families made sacrifices like this, it would be a better world. In fact, I think most of the world probably lives this way, as “we” did decades ago, until the suburbanizing of America. To have the wisdom of parents around while raising kids would be so wonderful. To have those extra arms and tender kisses through all the growing years. I admire you and David. My heart swells with joy.

    And yes, to see you writing again! This is the best. You need time for yourself, and ways to express these big changes, and whatever your big heart leads you to say. Your perspective on the world is wonderful and necessary.

    Love you!

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    • Thank you, my dear, dear friend! It is really gratifying to be here writing again. You are right about my needing a way to counsel myself about the seemingly constant changes in the river of my life. Of course, we all have those kinds of changes, but I’m lucky to be able to sort them out in this way, as you are.

      There are stresses that go along with living with one’s family, but the riches outweigh any of that, and to be a daily part of their lives can only be beneficial to all concerned, I think.

      I love you!

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    • Awww, you sweet girl, one of my staunchest supporters. It’s so good to see you here in my little place. And I meant it when I said on your Thanksgiving post that I was very touched to see that BSR was still listed on your blogroll. Most had removed me, and for good reason. I’m very happy to be back, using this forum to bring some sense to my life.

      Many blessings to you, chica, and your beautiful family! xoxo

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  5. I’ve missed reading your blog and watching (through photos) your grandchildren, your life with the chickens. I love how you are loving your daughter and grandchildren! I align with all the other comments above and rather than be redundant, wish you all the best. Keep writing, when you can, you’ve a gift for it and we the reader, recognize your gentle, and humorous prose. I certainly enjoy keeping up with your life. I too, keep checking here and there, waiting for you to post. (i like how you weave in and out of facebook, just when I learned to navigate it) Stay in touch Susie!

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  6. Jackee! It’s so good to hear from you! I haven’t had chickens for a couple of years, but I have plenty of grands to keep me busy. Haha. Thank you for the nice compliment! I’m really enjoying writing again. That’s one of the reasons I will probably never return to FB. It just consumed too much of my time…time that I’m now spending writing, and reading all the books on my shelves that were anxiously awaiting me. 🙂

    Please stay in touch! You can always email me. My address is in the “Get in touch” tab at the top of the page.

    xoxoxo

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