In the fall of 2015 A and M's older brothers moved in with us. We put up curtains and bunk beds in the laundry room (carpet, bookshelf, dresser). We enrolled them in school. We whispered requests to heaven that this decision would not destroy the precious grasp we had on parenting on our own four children.
Here is what we thought: we will do this for a few months. J will come out with the girls before Christmas. We will figure out housing for them. She will enroll in school. I will find a job to help pay their rent. We will get the girls in school. Tru and Lola will share a room. We have The Village. It will be hard but all of this is hard and why should we take the easy road.
Scratch that. We had not marked the easy road. And then we had lost the map.
Here is what happened: We put our house on the market after pinning our hopes and dreams on a larger fixer upper down the street. Paul got a new job working from home. We sold our house and made an offer on the house that had previously been inhabited by an order of nuns. This required an enormous and near comical staging of our own home (after 3 weeks of solid remodeling, repainting and repairing that required many, MANY hands) and then a near miraculous negotiation and sale of both our blue-barn-house and the Sister's. We moved in to the new house 5 days before Christmas, two days after J and the girls arrived in Portland for the holiday, and without a functional kitchen. My family arrived in waves to celebrate the house and J and our strange new life. We had a visit from friends. We opened gifts, spoke in code, and cooked food at the neighbor's house. J and I struggled to sort of who was The Mom and our kids struggled to sort out all their deep, deep grief and longing. In the process we lost our whatever was left on our tenuous grasp of parental control. We scraped across the threshold of exhaustion, angst, and deep, deep gratitude for the way in which our people continued to show up and come to our rescue. J returned to Miami with the girls.
We gasped into 2016.