Loren and I are doing this crazy thing where we are putting all of our stuff in boxes made of card board, taping them up tight, and renting a U-HAUL for a day to cart all of the things that we treasure to a different place, a small square, a dwelling we will soon call HOME.
This home, this apartment, that we are packing into boxes and preparing to say goodbye to has been our home for a little over three years. It has nestled into my heart so intensely, burrowing itself deeper than I ever thought an apartment could. I know now that we can make home wherever we are, because we did so in a building shared by many, in a complex made for temporary housing. We let our hearts grow wide and together here.
This is the place Loren and I found on Craigslist, unsure if it was a scam or not [spoiler alert: it wasnt]. We signed the lease July 2012, unsure how long we would be here, neighboring with a couple who we believed were cousins. Loren carried me over the threshold, we laughed and we giggled and we made lots of things here. Every year we would pause and say something like, "We really like this place. Should we look for somewhere bigger and with a washer and dryer tho? We don't want to have a baby here without a washer and dryer." I didn't ever think I could go another month at the laundromat...and yet, here I am, more than 3 years later and surviving.
This is where my cooking went from all things gluten and butter to gluten free, dairy free, soy free, red meat free, bean free..and I have had to learn to be creative. This is the place we came home to after our honeymoon and again after a three week trip to Europe. This is where I began learning what it means to be a wife and a home maker, a youth pastor's wife, a disciple maker, a woman to my core. This is where we had our first real arguments and disagreements and make ups and loving conversations. It's the place we praised Jesus for countless reasons, the place we celebrated Loren quitting his second job and launching into full time youth ministry. We grew 4 summers of gardens in the back patio; built garden boxes, unloaded dirt, we even brought in a rototiller.
A 25 year old man-friend lived with us for three and half months to save money to buy his lady-friend an engagement ring. A 16 year old student lived with us. This is the place we started our youth ministry, in the tight space that is our living room that once hosted four couches to seat plenty of students. We had a young marrieds small group here that grew to 20, a young adult small group that grew to 18, bible studies galore, movie nights and popcorn shared. Our walls have holes from hanging photo frames and verses and word art and beautiful creations all over, noting that this is home.
This is where we began our adoption process; where we googled and searched and called friends who have gone before us. We landed on the route we knew in our souls was best for us. We started clearing out our second bedroom, knowing that soon we would be actively pursuing this thing of adoption.
This is where got pregnant and celebrated and danced and laughed and planned and created. Our nursery clean up and renovation was on full speed by this point. We created so many gifts to reveal to so many people the precious life that had been created.
This is where we lost that baby and we mourned and we sobbed for hours that turned to days and then weeks and now months.
We are in the thick of the beginning of the adoption journey. The longer-than-expected-wait of scheduling our in home study interview has given us a brief window of opportunity to move into a duplex and make a new home, ready for new memories, new family moments and hopefully, family growth.
This space has held spirit filled joys, and deep wails of grief; both from the pits of our actual souls. This apartment has ebbed its way into my heart over the years, making its mark as our first home together. It is so much more than an apartment.
And now we pack up and move 4.6 miles south to a small duplex with a garage and a huge back yard and the best neighbors one could dream of. Also, a washer and drying machine. Even as I pack and scrub the tub and the toilet and the floor boards, it isn't quite sinking in that we will be moved out of this place next week.
This is my tribute to the first space our little family called home.