I thought maybe we'd run in the house and spin circles in the living room and breathe a sigh of relief that we were back in familiar surroundings. But, I admit walking into our house was a little underwhelming. First of all, we were locked out.Allen had been smart to get his house key in his backpack, but mine was buried in luggage. We drove home in separate cars so I had to wait for him to arrive. It seemed dim and wasn't as big as I remembered. There were some damages I noticed immediately, and repairs to make urgently. I found myself thinking, yeah, it's time to just move to a newer home that suits us better. This house has plenty of bedroom space but the central gathering space is getting a little tight and inefficient for when all the kids come to visit (and eventually their spouses and children). Sometimes I've felt this way but my window well that I built myself and have planted with succulents ties me here and I don't want to leave it. But all the plants in it are now dead. So what the heck, time to move on. At the moment ("at the mo" in Aussie lingo), I just feel deflated about getting back to constant home repairs and updates and would rather just start with a new home that doesn't require improvements.
Window well BEFORE and AFTER.
Madeline and Jessica spent some time sprucing things up and getting beds and towels ready for us. Maddie did some grocery shopping and even hauled most of the boxes out of the basement and into everyone's rooms! No small task for one person! She unpacked the entire kitchen so that when I needed something I was able to reach for where it's always been and there it was. That could easily be taken for granted but I don't. It has been so nice to have that done! The next morning I was searching for something to eat and thought "I wish I had some homemade tortillas to make a breakfast burrito." I opened the freezer and--SURPRISE!--she had thought of that, too! She made tortillas! (I'm pretty much not unpacking any of the other boxes in the house for a long time but the kitchen is unavoidable. This has been a great gift.)
And although the structure of our home hasn't held quite the thrill that we thought it would, the warm welcome from family and neighbors has more than compensated for that. Many neighbors contributed to a Welcome Home! banner with balloons and notes that immediately put a smile on our face. We had neighbors driving by and stopping to say hello and "Welcome Back!" very frequently. They all wanted to say hello but they also were very understanding of our fatigue and work to unpack so they made their greetings short and sweet. A friend brought homemade pizzas for dinner. We had one on Friday and one on Saturday (they were HUGE!). So many neighbors have brought me fresh produce from their garden. I'm SO appreciative! Even more, I realize that they know me and care for me enough to know that I really miss having a garden so they are sharing with me. I feel so loved. And I'm going to get some salsa canned this year! Yay!
Another neighbor knew me well enough that they didn't want me to see my overgrown lawn and abundance of weeds that the renters left. They came and mowed and weeded so that my first sight of home was a good one. How thoughtful is that?
Arriving at church we weren't sure how we'd feel. It's been a long time and we miss our Point Cook ward family and felt a little awkward. But guess what! We found "our" pew empty and ready for us. Even though we feel like "new move-ins," it was wonderful to walk the hallways and already know everyone's name and hear "welcome back!" from everyone.
We took a walk to return the pizza pans that evening. It took a long time to walk the two blocks to their home because of all the neighbors we saw along the way and stopped to chat. This community is rare and wonderful. Wonderful.
I don't want to sell my house anymore.
Allen is from Iowa and the Field of Dreams, but I am pretty sure THIS is heaven.