Sunday, August 21, 2011

In another life...

We have always planned to leave Toronto. We are both the product of growing up in rural communities. The traffic, the squishy houses, the people of the city- they just aren't for us.  We bought our house in the burrows of Toronto in 2006. A year out of university (two for Scott), we just wanted somewhere to call our own. We wanted two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a tiny yard. That's basically what we got.

We traded space and country roads and dark evening skies for the convenience of city living...

We bought our house with the intention of living here for 3-5 years, making some changes (and building some equity) and then move out to our dream home. I remember when we toured the house thinking maybe, just maybe, we could have one baby here, then we'd have to leave. We moved in as a couple of about 3 years, and will one day leave as a happily married couple with at least one baby, and hopefully another on the way... (Hopefully).

Over the five years we've lived here, we've replaced all of the electricity (we had knob and tube wiring throughout), we've dug out and finished our basement and added another bathroom. We tore out our 1950s kitchen (complete with gold-flecked countertops), and most recently I renovated our main bathroom. And yes, I do owe you photos of my bathroom renovation, but I'm awaiting the arrival of the shower curtain I ordered on Etsy before I show you the final shots... It's come though, hopefully. ;)

Our plan, once we found out our family would be expanding to accommodate baby Jack, was to stay put until the fall and then look to relocate out of Toronto. It would all suddenly be worth it- commuting would be worth it when we had a little man to come home to in the evenings. We would need more space for all his things and stuff. We wanted somewhere he could run around, and stretch his legs. Mostly we wanted to live near my parents so our daycare would be, um, free.

stock photo, to show you what a couple outside of a house looks like.. ha
So many hopes and dreams and wishes for a little boy.

My parents live on about 3/4 of an acre of land in the country. For years now they've debated buying a lawn tractor in lieu of the push mower they currently have. Our next door neighbour growing up was named Jack, and he had the patience of a saint. We four children would line up for our turn to sit upon his knee as he went up and down his garden. In retrospect, it's apparent we were easily entertained, but my goodness did we love it at the time. My mother is notoriously cheap, so she always talked my dad out of buying on, reasoning he was getting much needed exercise by walking. This year, for Christmas, mom gave dad the tractor he's always wanted. She cried as she told him he was only getting it now so  Jack could sit upon my Dad's knee and have tractor rides, too.

I remember when we were in the NICU, promising Jack that if he were to pull through we'd buy him a doggie. We promised him cars when he was old enough to drive. We promised him a big yard, with a pool where he could learn to swim. We promised him no curfews, that anything he could ever want would be his. We would have, too. Anything.

Without Jack here, we have no reason to relocate. We talk about it a lot. We look a lot. But it's not worth it just yet... It's not worth commuting to the country and a pool and a dog if there's no one there to make it worthwhile.  We find houses online all the time, and I visually move into them. I think about how I might decorate it, where I'd place furniture, pictures, which stools to buy for the island bar in the kitchen. I think about children's rooms and what it might be like to hear the laughter of our future children ringing throughout the halls. I dream of a craft room full of washable paints, and crayons and paper, of well-read books strewn about the floor. I think about how I'd like to have two kids share a bedroom with matching double beds, falling asleep while telling ghost stories.

Our current dream house
I plan all of these things, show the houses to my husband, and we agree we love it.

But then we wait. We wait because I'm terrified of making a big change in our lives which may come back to bite me in the ass. What if we buy a house with the intention of filling it with children, and we never can? What then? How would I feel about our dream house if I couldn't fill it with my dreams?  We make vague promises to look into it more seriously when I become pregnant, and one by one these houses sell and another family moves into them and lives these lives... I wonder whether they know anything of this life I've led... Whether they are newlyweds with the hopes and aspirations of filling the rooms with kids, too? Why do they get to be so happy and never worry about this stuff which now permeates my dreams?

Don't worry, looks like our stock couple from before DO have kids... Thank goodness! 

It's so hard letting go of so many dreams for the "right now". Just as I know I have to let go of my desire to "control" everything when it comes to trying to conceive our next baby, I know I just need to sit back and let things happen. There are a million houses out there, each one offering a version of what our life may be like one day.  One day, when the time comes and we're ready, the right house will be there. A house which can offer us something to look forward to again, somewhere to tuck our baby in at night... The promise of happier tomorrows.

For now, these houses are a glimpse at a life that should have been, but never was able to. All these dreams for him, all these things we wanted to give to him.. Perhaps in another life. Perhaps for his brothers and sisters.

Damn I miss him.


Renel said...

Oh Laura Jane - just heartbreaking! So many dreams... You know that stock couple may have a dead baby... We all look normal to someone else I think. Would someone look at me, at us and think dead baby? Probably not just chubby and sad... Hmmm
I have my 2.5 year old son who is the love of my life but my dreams of the future are certainly different than the actuality of my daughter dying and leaving us a daughter short and a family of three instead of four. I see that stock family and they make me kind of ill. I get jealous of a totally contrived family that doesn't exist. I think I'm jealous of the possibilty of a charmed life I don't live. I'm jealous of there seeming innocence. I'm jealous of all the things I project onto them... And they aren't even real. I guess that is my bitterness and sadness at the unfairness of this loss.
I think you should keep dreaming and keep looking at houses... Because some day you will have those dreams and family and it will be that much more precious because of the loss.

Darcey said...

A very touching post. Hoping your dreams become a reality very soon!!!

B. Wilson said...

I have that damn house, LJ. And it breaks my heart daily to know that it's still empty and I'm still waiting to fill the other 4 bedrooms. Too large for a couple, definitely.

E and I agree that we'd have never, ever bought our house if it weren't for wanting children. And we were so close. We'd be condo living closer to the city probably. We'd be traveling the world and taking longer vacations because there would be no college funds to save for. Now we're in a state of MAYBE. And it's very hard.

The tractor just about broke me this morning. :( I truly hope that someday you'll have lots of little ones to sit on your dad's lap and ride around in that tractor. And the nice house with the perfect little family, too. Of course we all know it will be -1. But the love of baby Jack is enough to fill the moon.

Tiffany said...

i feel you completely. there was actually my dream house that i saw a few weeks ago, showed D and everything, but think "yea, well it's a big house for just the 2 of us. what if we never get the chance to fill it full of babies?"

i used to be such a planner. i had Juju's life all planned out, what schools he would go to, what sports he would be in. planning anything now just seems so pointless. all the planning and love in the world didn't keep my son from passing away.

and i've been feeling his absence even greater recently :(

Kelly said...

We have the perfect amount of bedrooms for a family of 4 here in our house, and yet one remains empty. Cuz our family of 4 was tragically turned into a family of 3. I hate it.

LJ, can you send me a message on FB and let me know how you keep people from sending you private messages on there? I haven't figured out how to do it, and I need to. Thanks. :)

Becky said...

That tractor story:(
So many dreams either put on hold or just lost, just isn't fair. I'm sorry Laura. Although I know Jack will always be missing, I hope one day you get that house full of kiddos with the craft room and bedroom with the matching double beds.

Natasha said...

The tractor story is just so sweet and heartbreaking. I wish Jack was here to get that ride.

We bought our house last summer for Aiden. I wanted it to be perfect for him and picked out his nursery before the house was even built. I picked our new furniture and decorations with him in mind- nothing with sharp edges, a soft fluffy rug in the living room so if he fell he would have lots of padding, a nice sized patio and back yard for when he a little older so he could play for hours in the dirt and sun.

It sucks so bad that Aiden is not here. I hate that he doesn't get to enjoy this house we put so much planning into. For awhile I hated the house. Why have this stupid house if I can't have him?

I totally get the putting plans on hold thing. It's like what's the point of planning anything anymore? I have no idea what our life will be like in 2 days let alone in a year or two. And I don't even try to figure it out any more.

I wish Jack was here. I wish you had your little boy and I wish I had mine too.....


Brooke said...

Oh, LJ. Big fat tears for your dad and the riding lawn mower. Oh it's not fair and I hate it.

You'll have your house and your babies. Your past is sad and your present is so hard but your future is beautiful. I really believe it.

Caroline said...

Wow I just love what Brooke said. I believe it too.

When we moved into our current house I remember saying that it was exciting to think that we'd start our family here. And while that is what we did, it's still painful that Cale never got to live in the room that was his - that was so very ready for him. I rock Finley in the nursery and I look up at the picture of Cale and wish so badly that he got to experience everything too. . . .sigh . . .

and the lawn mower story. . .melts and breaks my heart all at once

Tiffany said...

I totally understand what you are saying. Even though we already moved into our house- I have a huge fear that we won't have enough kids to fill it up. I think this is something that people don't understand, we didn't just lose our babies- we lost of hope and faith in the future.
Like everyone else, the lawn mower story is heartbreaking...

TanaLee Davis said...

I hear you! I so feel what you are feeling right her in this post. This is like you took my thoughts and should have beens and posted it. I do believe that one day soon this dream or thought that you have will be your reality. Hugs girly, I've missed you.

brianna said...

Wow, I can so relate to this in so many ways. Before George died we had concrete plans to move to another state, my husband's home state, in order to be closer to his family and improve our general quality of life. But when George died I could not make myself leave this city. It was too much for me and so we stayed, and have stayed, and will now be staying for an indefinite amount of time. It is so hard to have everything in your life turned upside down.

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