And so tonight, I hear the familiar sound of a piano. I didn't think I'd be hearing that sound again.
You see, it is Hannah's Piano. I'm hearing the instrument she prayed for when she was about thirteen years old. Three days after that family prayer time, her pastor-father was sitting at his desk at the church, and received a phone call from a man, a total stranger, who wanted to find someone to give a piano to. Tim quickly let him know that his own daughter had just prayed for a piano.
And so it was. We picked it up that night. Not a shabby piano - a nice one.
Last May, Hannah was married. Of course, she and her in-college-studying-to-be-a-highschool-math-teacher husband moved into their little apartment together. They had no room for her piano. The keys that had been oft played suddenly fell silent. I thought that was that.
Lesson number one thousand-eleven: "that" is never "that".
Here is The Big Announcement: last week, almost one year to the day that Hannah married and moved out, she and her husband, and baby in-utero, have all moved back in.
Uh, remember that home office I was so excited about? I was going to design it and blog it?
Nevermind. I'm now in the market for a crib.
Some grown children move out, and move back home because they can't yet achieve in the "real world".
And some grown children move out, and move back home precisely because they are achieving...
Justin earned his college degree two weeks ago - and is going on for his Master's degree. He has snagged an internship in one of the most, if not THE most highly sought after public high school in the city. Families by the score re-locate just to make sure their children can attend this high school.
But the state of Tennessee pays their teacher-interns....nothing. You read that right: nothing. They must intern one year, and with no salary. It is impossible for Justin to finish his internship, earn his Master's, and also try to find a second full time job, so Hannah can have a baby. The only way these two high achievers could make it work was for them to...
...move in with us. This way, Hannah can work full time, and Justin can finish his internship, get his Master's degree in Math Education, and they can become parents.
Yeah. Not exactly your low-achievers.
They are looking at it this way: their job here at home is not done. They need us, but we also need them in this season. With them here to help with our youngest son, Tim and I can do the work of the ministry more effectively. Lord knows that lately this labor of love, this care of the souls of men, never seems to stop. We need the reinforcements. In-house reinforcements.
God sent them.
Justin is prepared to tutor Isaac so that he'll rock the ACT. This couple could absolutely run this whole household for us, if Tim and I had to, say, go on a mission trip. Heck, they could run the household for us, and we could actually take a vacation. Imagine that.
They will be with us for only one year. And yes...when the baby comes home from the hospital, he or she will be coming here. You know I hate that.
That is the news I've been dying to tell you, friends. This home is once again-again bursting at the seams. The big bedroom with the half-bath has been painted the happiest shade of robin's egg blue, and a very happy couple sleeps there, across the hall from our youngest son.
Isaac, who is no longer "all by himself", is more than fine with this latest turn of events. He is loving it. I wonder if he isn't looking forward to the baby as much as I am! He told me the other day, in a moment of unselfconscious teenagedom: "Mom, the best things keep happening to me lately. I mean...I am close to getting a car, my sister is back home, and she's having a baby..."
He didn't know what he'd just said. His heart was fully revealed in that snapshot of a moment, and it was a fine sight for this mother's sore eyes. Sharing his domain with his niece or nephew seems wonderful to him.
I know this post is long. I beg your pardon, and entreat your patience as I leave you with a last thought. In a moral climate (and economic climate) where "boomerang kids" have become a social category, what of the grown ones who come back home for all the right reasons? No grown child should be permitted to come back home, if all home is, is a place where they can have all the freedoms of being an adult, with fewer responsibilities.
But again, what of the adult child who cherishes the generational bond, and wants to contribute to the family....Walton's style? (Remember that old show, The Waltons?) That is a different perspective altogether. One that the church would do well to revisit. What of the adult children who want to come home for a season, and contribute?
Not because they can't make it, but because they already are making it.
One of Hannah's favorite fiction authors, Grace Livingston Hill:
"For a girl who had a home and dear family, to leave them to get along without her as best they could, and go away for a fuller freedom and a selfish life of her own, seemed to Jane nothing short of contemptible."
~Grace Livingston Hill, from the book Happiness Hill