Well, to make a very long story very short, things have changed. Without going into great detail, my parents came down for an unexpected visit a few weeks ago, sat down in our living room, and gently suggested we perhaps not move back to Indiana. The reason why? Because in a couple of years, they won't be there. Neither will my sister Sarah and Garrett and their brood. Where will they be? It feels funny to say, but they're moving even further south than where we currently reside -- North Carolina! There are many, many, many reasons for this move, but the primary one is my nephew Ethan. North Carolina offers him the best chance for a mainstream education, the best therapy for his autism (they utilize something called the "TEACH method"), the best opportunity to learn and grow and achieve his full potential. He's simply not getting any kind of decent opportunity from Indiana's special education track, and the curriculum only promises to get worse, and downright awful by the time he's in 3rd grade. And because my parents are nearing retirement, and because they refuse to live without their grandchildren (by their own admission, so cute), they're seeking a big change and thus, the big move south.
Without missing a beat, without so much as a moment's worth of hesitation, we happily decided to make North Carolina our new destination as well. In fact, our compass spun so quickly I got a bit of whiplash -- and I suddenly had the clearest perspective I've ever had when it comes to "home." All this time, I've been keening like crazy to call myself a Hoosier again, and suddenly I realized, I don't even care about that so much, I just care about living near my family. But even that is secondary. In all of the conversations that ensued, I further realized that I just want to be with my Marty and our Will. I want us to have a family adventure all our own. In all the planning and plotting to provide Will the best growing-up situation and as a result, setting our sights on Indy, I never sat and actually had this thought -- and shame on me!!! Of course, I'd be lying if I said I don't want to be near my family -- I absolutely do and Marty shares that desire. So, in a couple of years, we'll pick up stakes and mosey on down the trail. But in the meantime...oh, in the meantime, we've decided to choose the best place for us to be right now.
And not only have we found a great place, I've also stumbled upon the greatest sense of contentment I've ever had. A scant 2 and half years ago, I was perhaps the most miserable person I knew. I was in a sham of a marriage, unable to have children, lonely at home and sad at work and depressed everywhere in between. I fixed a fake smile on my face for the world to see but cried constantly on the inside, knowing in my deepest soul that my life was nothing that I wanted it to be. And now here I am, those 2 and a half years later, married to the love of my life (just know that I type that with tears in my eyes, because this man is genuinely a prince among men), listening to my baby son coo in the other room, and looking at the pictures I'm about to show you. I'm just so happy, because I've found my true home, my family with Marty, and together we've found a physical home, those four walls and a roof that will shelter and protect and embrace us for this next chapter in our lives.
And so, without further ado, meet my loft in downtown Kingsport:
7-foot French doors that are our front windows (follow me, I'm going to slowly spin to the right around the great room)
The windows now closed so you can see the restored hardwood floors and the exposed brick wall
The area that will be our dining room
Kids, meet the kitchen of my dreams: stainless steel appliances, extra-tall espresso-stained cherry cabinets, custom concrete countertops, and the coolest pendant lights you'll ever hope to see hanging above your sink
Another view of the kitchen, and if you look up, you can see the exposed wooden beams/rafters
The view down the hallway (doors lead to master suite, Will's nursery, guest bathroom, and laundry closet)
The area that will be my office (excuse the presence of the leasing agent, who may be my newest friend; her name's Samantha, she's lived in Europe, she had a private Christian school upbringing [I kid you not], and she's already invited us into her loft [she lives here too] and she might just be the coolest chick ever)
Finally, the living area, with those majestic windows open again (we have 2 sets of 2).
So why did y'all go for a loft?, you might ask. Well, we tried to get a house. Tried several times to find a decent home to rent, but OH. MY. STARS. I've realized something. There are a lot of people in the world who don't live clean, sanitary lives. To put it simply, there are just a lot of GROSS people out there, and I'll be darned if I'm going to rent a house from someone whose basement smells like dirty animals. In our quest to find some new digs, I haunted Craig's List and we went on several jaunts to see places, and we (read, I) kept getting more and more frustrated. It wasn't just once that we drove away from a place with me in shock and/or tears! Then one night, we saw the ad for these brand-new lofts, converted from an old furniture warehouse. By the time we called, there was only ONE left. Marty went and toured that same day, and we signed our lease on Friday, the same day I got to see it for the first time. With absolutely no sense of propriety, I got to the great room and started jumping up and down in sheer joy. My greatest feeling isn't joy, however -- it's gratitude. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you, Lord, for bringing me home.
And thank goodness my blog is private, because I can share with y'all our new address (we move in December 1st):
217 Broad Street, Loft 206
Kingsport, TN 37660
Now, one last and completely unrelated photo. This is Will with his beloved Dr. Terry, his pediatrician. I'm not kidding when I say that they love each other. I think the photo says it all.