I knew that the day would come. Over the past few months it had become harder to get Claire into our home. I either had to carry her up a flight of stairs or transfer her to a wheelchair and up a curb that was high and uneven, neither a safe option. Honestly, we should have moved a while ago but I couldn’t. I couldn’t let go. There were so many memories. Memories of Claire feeding herself birthday cake, completely unassisted. Memories of Claire crawling at lightening speed naked after a bath. I remember our first day there. Jared was at work and I was waiting for the movers. Claire, 17 months old, played with her toys and drank juice from her sippy while I laid on the floor in exhaustion. We had been living in separate states for 4 months and I had been very ill on top of caring for Claire and my mom. I was so hopeful that this was a fresh start. We were back where we wanted to be, together, by the ocean and with a great job. My optimism lasted about 24 hours as the next day we went to see our old primary care. The rest is history, therapy started, testing began, a diagnosis came, our lives changed. Claire lost so much in that home. She stopped breathing for the first time there and had her first big seizure there. We brought Chloe home here. Everything that her sister lost, she did in this home. Chloe taught us to laugh and play in this home. Jared and I learned to grieve and to fight better in this home.
One day I was messing around online and saw that a condo around the corner had dropped in price. For whatever reason I called the realtor and he showed it to me that day. We made an offer and with little negotiation we were in contract. We planned to move mid Dec. I thought I would have time to let go. Three weeks ago I got a call from our land lord. They had good news. They could let us out of our lease but we had to be out in two weeks. I don’t know how it happened but somehow it did. The closing got moved up a month and we got the keys two days before we had to be out. Packing was hard. The memories overwhelmed me and I had to stop a lot to take deep breathes. I don’t think we would have made it if it wasn’t for all of the friends who helped us over the coarse of the weekend. It was surreal to be moving with friends instead of professionals and I have to say a lot better even though it caused us a lot more physical pain. After a few very long days, it was done.
I met with the manager to do the walk through. He took notes and I looked around one last time. That’s when it hit me. I looked up at the stars on the ceiling. The memory of the first night I had to sleep in Claire’s bed flooded all of my senses. The smell of her freshly washed hair, the feeling of her cold sheets and her little body, as she would stop breathing I would shake her and and sing to calm her down while looking at those stars. I remember laying there, thinking about how my world was changing in that moment. The world I knew was different. It was a world where children stop breathing for no good reason. A world where decisions aren’t as easy, things weren’t cut and dry. I am certainly not the same as I was when we moved in a few years ago. If I am honest, I do like who I am more now. That was a long five and a half years, perhaps the longest of my life but I have grown into who I am now and I like me better now than I did then.
Funny how much of life depends on perception. The world is the same today as it was then but now I am more aware of it, much like myself. As we settle into our new home I wonder. Will this be the home that we loose Claire in? Will this be the room that I will be sitting in when I find out that there is a treatment that can help and Claire will be getting it soon? Will Chloe break her first bone jumping off these bunk beds? Will Jared and I learn to read each others minds and be more considerate here? Only time will tell. I do know that so far Claire has had great success in her kid walk, stepping with the right leg on her own 15 times, Chloe has enjoyed turning the top bunk into the boardwalk and launching her dolls of the roller coaster and that things wilder than my imagination will take place, both good and bad, and I am ready for that.