Sunday, October 16, 2011

sharing space.

We just closed a 4 1/2 week chapter in our lives that was titled, "Sharing space with another family".  I'm sure there will be more of these chapters down the road, but this one at least is closed.  For now.  One of my closest friends moved from Western Australia over East with her husband and son to work with the same branch of our organization that we are with currently.  Hollie and I have already been doing some teaching together on global health issues and enjoying raising our boys together. 

A home has opened up for them a couple of blocks up our street, but when they first arrived in our state they needed a place to stay.  They arrived a few nights before my husband returned from a 2 week work trip in SE Asia, so the three of them helped Saf and I welcome Chris home.  Our flat is quite spacious, with a pretty amazing open plan living room/kitchen with lots of hardwood floors for the little ones to spend their energy on.  It's more space than the three of us need, but the second "bedroom" doesn't actually have a door on it.  Chris hung up curtains with a rod across the double wide frame for some privacy.  But it's not exactly .... private.  Previously we'd been using the room as a storage space/guest bedroom, so Hollie and family moved their belongings in and took over - leaving the place more organized than before they came! 

People would often ask me how it was going, living with another family so closely.  In lots of ways it was great.  They shared rent, which was awesome and very helpful to us during a financially tight month.  We also made a meal plan and spent about $80 a week per family on groceries, where previously we could easily spent $120  on our own.  [But I now feel pretty convinced about the financial value of meal plans so we will hopefully be spending less!]  We also had more help in keeping Saf entertained and Chris and I were able to sneak away one Saturday morning for a breakfast date. 

And I was able to leave Hollie with the two boys and hang laundry or make dinner without having to keep an eye on my adventurous toddler.  And I really enjoyed the company during the day - I don't think women are meant to be home most of the day with the baby in isolation.  It was good to just do things together and to have someone to chat with or take walks with, giving new life and laughter to what is normally mundane.  There was always something buzzing in the house, never a dull moment -

or quiet moment, really, unless needs were specifically communicated.  One of the challenges was making sure people got what they needed in terms of family time and alone time.  If we let life just roll on, we would usually end up chatting all together until bedtime.  When couples needed to connect privately there had to be some kind of communication - usually as simple as, "Hey, I think we're gonna spend some time talking about some things tonight" and the other couple would find something else to do.

There was also more of a mess created, of course, but once we all started to take responsibility for it, the work become alot lighter.  I enjoyed having other people cook meals while I went and had a rest and other people to take care of the dishes most of the time.  Hollie was eager to relieve burdens for me in pregnancy, and she would often have River (her son) on her back in the Ergo carrier and have my 25 pound son in her arms.  Saf is bigger and older than River so would often be a little bit too rough with him.  Sometimes this was tiring, making sure that they played nicely together as they were sharing space and toys and books for most of the day.

But now we are back to just the three of us.  Saf misses River and this morning has been saying, "Rivra" and looking in their now empty bedroom for him.  Fortunately River isn't far and we already ran into them at the beach this afternoon, after being separated for about 24 hours. :)  Saf gave River lots of cuddles and sweet kisses, obviously very happy and relieved to be reunited. 

Saf doesn't realize that he has a new, permanent playmate coming to live with us very soon.  :)