The House That Annabelle Built
It’s been one year. One year since we began our new life on Teakwod Drive. One year since we ripped out sinks and carpets and paneling and one year since I blogged about Ms. Annabelle’s house where I promised her that we would fill her halls with music; that there would be Bibles on our shelves and they would be opened and read; that we would plant flowers and keep the grass green; that we would swing at the nearby park and live together and love together and that we would laugh and play and grow.
And we have and while it hasn’t looked like the painting in my head, this house has been our shelter and our refuge and living here has changed me and changed us and if these walls could speak they would share not only of the sorrow, but of so many triumphs as well.
How do you measure? I give you a year.
August 2011: The kids and I move in. It is beautiful and spacious and we can walk to school and we are welcomed by neighbors and we meet Ross, the 5th grader next door who knows everything, and we begin to settle.
September 2011: I turn 39. I realize that a new home, a new city cannot save a dying marriage and I secretly wonder if we’ll be happy by the time I turn 40. I had asked myself this same question at 37 and 38.
Later, September 2011: I watch Moneyball. It’s baseball. It’s Brad Pitt. And I have an “aha” moment. Well, duh! Of course I do. It’s baseball and Brad Pitt. Together. In one movie. I take away this quote, “I hate losing more than I love winning.”
I tell my sister. I finally understand. He hates losing more than he loves winning.
October 2011: Emma Claire turns 3. There is a tea party and there are presents are there is joy in this house.
Later, October 2011: I feel a lump in my breast. I have a mammogram; I have an ultra sound and two days later I meet with a surgeon. A few days after that there are drugs and surgeons and, you know, knives for cutting, and the lump is removed. Again, I wait two days and the surgeon calls. I am healthy. I give thanks.
November 2011: I am driving down Military avenue and I hear the voice of the Lord as clearly and as audibly as I may ever hear it and He says, “When are you going to do the hard thing that I’ve called you to do.”
And so I did.
November 2011: My husband and I separate and by separate, I mean still living together here in Annabelle’s house. This house that I promised to fill with love and music is now home to a crumbling marriage. It is within these walls that we tell Coulter. There are no words for a moment like that and even if there were, that is Coulter’s moment and not something I would ever write about. It is a moment I will remember forever and one that I pray he will someday forget.
December 2011: We continue to share a home. We drive as a family to Arkansas for Christmas. We all stay together at my parent’s house. Together. At. my. parents. house.
Anyway, Santa comes because we believe. And speaking of believing, Santa is already vastly concerned for the upcoming Christmas. Coulter wants a Mario Brothers 2 for his DS, only we discovered that they don’t make them for his DS; only for the DS-3D (and I silently curse the DS people and I wonder why bother because the minute we buy a 3D there will be a 4D) and anyway, Coulter is not worried. He simply plans to ask Santa to make Mario Brothers 2 for his DS. Just because the stores don’t make it, doesn’t mean Santa can’t. Duh, mom!
January, March, April; We continue to share a home (I know, right?!?) But time passes and this I know. God is faithful.
May: Coulter turns 7. Ages 3 ½ and 7 and I wonder what happened to my babies?
June and July: There is swimming and playing and road-tripping and outdoor concerts (and by outdoor concerts, I mean Emma Claire singing into her Barbie microphone); smells of sunblock and burnt marshmallows and horses and sweaty children and it is miraculous how God redeems and provides and hides us from the storm; under His wing and beneath His shelter.
August: Ann Voskamp says that thanksgiving always preceeds the miracle. And I do give thanks. I give thanks for the bumpy road and the lumpy breast. I give thanks for Brad Pitt and baseball and knowing that I actually like winning more than losing and I give thanks for the friends and the strangers and the neighbors and all those that God has called into our village, and I give thanks that though much has been loss, though much has been taken, our home still rings with joy and giggles and whose foundation is one of faith and while these won’t always be the halls that we’re running through, we will be running, chasing, racing wherever He leads us and yes. We will laugh and play and grow. And we will give thanks.
And wait for our miracle.