We are still wallowing in our peace and quiet around here. Pajamas and sleeping in and eating too much and such. It's all very nice. I had to go back to work today, but it wasn't so bad.
We got to visit my grandpa today. He is now off the respirator! He is speaking a little bit on his own and is responding. In fact, he seems a bit like his real self. It's really quite amazing - miraculous, even. The level at which he is communicating gives us hope that he will be his old self again. The nurses allowed Drew & Emma to come into the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, which doesn't usually happen. It was good for them to see him. It helps dispel some of their fears that stem from just not knowing about what's going on. It was also good for him to see them. His face brightened and he tried to show us how he could move his legs and arms. He waved at the kids and, when Emma was a little shy to shake his hand (lots of IVs are intimidating to a girl with such a big imagination), he took her hand and kissed it. We asked him if he'd like a Christmas song, and his eyes grew wide and he nodded. He tried to say "I'd like that very much!" So, we sang Away in a Manger, then had to leave so we didn't overstimulate him. It was more activity and more people in his room at once than I believe he's had yet.
When we got home tonight, we broke out the new Uno deck that we'd put in Andrew's stocking. Shockingly, this is one that hadn't yet been added to our gaming repertoire. We explained the rules and dove in to play. Emma was a little slower in grasping the concepts than Andrew, of course. She had to draw four cards because the player before her laid down one of those "+4" cards. She said things like, "I've got some really great cards!" and "Boo-ya!" as she picked them up.
She will never be a good poker player.
I am trying to use this bit of down time between the end of one year and the start of the next to sort a few things out. You know, I've said here and there for a year or more that we need to make some changes in our life as a family. Some things to help us deal with the day to day and live our lives instead of letting our lives happen to us.
Chris and I have made the extraordinarily difficult decision to put our beloved downtown cottage on the market. Honestly, this will not be easy for me. But we are a family of four and our kids are not getting smaller. We have less than 1200 square feet, one bathroom and no dishwasher. I love the character - the squeaks in the floors, the glass doorknobs, the window and door trim that I designed, the porch that I won an award for - but, I have a sneaking suspicion that I am sacrificing things that would be good for my children in order to hold on to my little house. Granted, it's more than my house. It's my home. I've never lived longer in one place. Seriously. And I've poured much of myself into this home. I've spent 15 years reading magazines about old houses and cottage style and have relished the chance to put some of my dreams and ideas into action here.
I have thought this over a lot. I think rash things like, "In other countries, 1200 square feet would hold an extended family of 20!" And then I remember that they don't have backpacks and euphoniums and two birds in cages of their own. I make crazy decisions like, "If I just throw away all my lotion-making stuff, my sewing stuff and my knitting stash, we might be able to fit!" And then I remember that I'd be even more miserable if I couldn't make stuff, and honestly, that wouldn't free up enough space for a slumber party. I think that maybe we should throw away all the kids' toys and buy them bicycles. We'll be that healthy, all-organic, downtown family that bikes to the lake every evening after their wholesome vegetarian supper. And then I remember that we are carnivores who like to watch TV after supper.
My kids don't have anywhere safe to ride bikes. The house isn't big enough for them to run and wrestle in. We can't host more than one kid for a sleepover, and that really pushes the limits of comfort. They have to be supervised outside because we back up to an alley that sometimes plays host to shady characters. There is a bar a block away. On Saturday nights, you can sit on my porch and listen to drunk people threaten and swear at each other. There isn't even anywhere to hang a basketball hoop.
I mean, it's not smack in the middle of urban America or anything , but it ain't the suburbs.
So, if we can sell for the price we need to get, we can purchase (for nearly the same mortgage) at least 1600 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage on a nice, residential street. It won't be a historic district. It's likely to need a kitchen update and we will probably have to rip out some shag carpeting. But all in all, after tears and talks and prayers, we think it's time to put the health and happiness of our kids first. There will be time for a lovely bungalow when they've gone to college.
As I hinted above, there is no guarantee we will sell. This is something of a leap of faith. Something we've decided to leave in God's hands, I guess. We're finally willing to jump in, head in the direction we think is best for our kids, and see what happens.
So, if you know anybody that needs an adorable, well-loved, historic home with an award-winning front porch and heart pine floors, let me know. I hope it goes to someone who adores it as much as I.
DAILY BLISS: my grandpa - he's going to make it