I haven't talked much on my blog about our previous living situation with our housemates. It became so normal to me that I never took time to answer the question of why we would choose to live with another family. In 2011, we went to a retreat with our new friends Mikey and Lindsay Hannon. There was a lot of talk about living in "community." I was curious what would prompt people to do this. Many people choose to live in community so they can share with others what God has given them, be able to help one another, and be connected to one another as they live life together. I share a lot of these same values and desires, but living with people felt like a good way to ruin a friendship.
Right before we left for Zambia the Hannons asked us what we thought about moving in with them. We were both a little apprehensive at first, but we really liked them and thought it would be fun. Everything seemed to be falling into place; we had somewhere to live and a place to keep our things while we were gone. Then we got the unexpected news 3 weeks before we left that we were pregnant. We decided we should tell the Hannons because they didn't sign up for a couple and a baby. They were so happy for us...like clapping with excited yeahs happy. They said they would still love to have us.
We moved in that January upon returning from Zambia and I had Vivi at the beginning of March. They watched as we went through all the first time parent stuff: sleep exhaustion, how to get a baby to sleep, and general transitions of being a new parent. They kept Vivi for us on different occasions so we could have a date night. As Vivi got older and was able to interact more they had their own songs and games they would play with her. She loved to wait for them to come upstairs for breakfast. She would run to them in the evenings as they rushed in to see her. They have loved our daughter in ways that has made my heart so happy. She lights up when she sees them and has known them from day one. These reasons alone would have been enough for me to live in community, but this is just a small glimpse of the goodness we have tasted by choosing to live with them.
We all knew the day we left would be really hard. We set aside a week of activities called the Hannon/Williams week of glory (pictures to come) in order to spend as much time as possible together. The day we left I absolutely lost it. I cried when we said bye, I cried when we pulled away, I cried for sometime while we started the drive to New Orleans.
I had not realized how much of our life we shared together in that year and a half. I began to wonder if we could parent our daughter without them. We joke around, but they are like her second set of parents. They were able to love and delight in her when I was too tired or too distracted. I feel like I am a better parent because of them.
I had several people say to me I bet you guys will be glad to have your own space back. I thought to myself not really. The Hannons have become such a part of our lives that it isn't really about our space and their space anymore. It has become about them not being in our every day life and that is more saddening then navigating who needs to get in the kitchen.
I texted Lindsay on our second day in New Orleans and told her I have been crying off and on because we are so sad to not see them. I told her it felt like a break up except we didn't hate them. She replied, "I know breakups and that means we are getting back together." I laughed.
Maybe we got lucky with our living situation. I don't know if we would ever live with another family again, but it has been one of the richest seasons I have ever known and that is reason enough for me.