This part of our journey has been very difficult to write… I have tried to write it many times, only to fall into a puddle of tears. It turns out that Williston, North Dakota isn’t our final stop on our Journey West. After trying to find housing, for over a year, Adrian and I have had to make some pretty tough decisions.
It’s very common for people to come and go from Williston. It is, after all, Boomtown. For our family, though, it has never been Boomtown. It has been home. We have attached ourselves to our dear friends, Troy and Bobbi, and their girls, as though they are our family. We have rooted ourselves into our church, Cornerstone FBC. We have learned which roads to take to get to our favorite places. We know where they keep the toilet paper and the Scotch tape at the local Walmart. We know where to get the best coffee in town. We know which parks are family friendly and we know where the riffraff hang out. Williston has become our town. When we realized that we wouldn’t be able to find a house here, our hearts felt broken. Our realtor couldn’t find an existing farm that we could buy, and our builder couldn’t build us a home within our budget. (Actually, our builder took our money and wouldn’t build us our home. That is another story for another time.)
When we felt that we’d exhausted all of our options in Williston, we made the super difficult decision to stretch out our search. Adrian called realtors in South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. He told them what we were looking for and asked them to let us know if they found anything. We got lots of emails showing houses and farms, but nothing looked like “home.” We decided that we couldn’t just keep waiting. September is coming up, and that is when our lease ends. We picked out a few of our favorite properties, in South Dakota and Wyoming, and spent a day looking at homes. We walked through seven houses. We liked some of the houses, but didn’t love any of them. On the drive to the last house, Adrian shared his disappointment. He told me that he’d prayed and had believed that we’d find our home, but that it wasn’t looking promising with only one more property to look at. After looking at two houses, we had stopped taking the littles out of the car to look. Their disappointment was almost more than we could bear. As we rounded a curve, and looked in the distance, we saw a beautiful house against a black hill. Adrian’s eyes lit up and he whispered, “Oh, I hope that’s the house!” The realtor, driving in front of us, turned into the driveway. Adrian looked at me and said, “Beck! I know this is it.”
We’d been disappointed so many times that I just shook my head, feeling sorry for Adrian that he felt so strongly that this house would somehow be different. After we parked the van, Adrian told the kids that they could get out and explore the yard. My heart sunk for them as they eagerly climbed out. Surely we’d be loading them back into the van with more of their hopes dashed. I looked at Adrian, desperate for him to understand how sad my momma heart felt. He just smiled at me with his sparkly smile.
Adrian and I walked up the stairs to the wrap-around porch. He peeked around the corners of the porch as I just stood, quietly, by the front door while the realtor unlocked the door. I am sure that I stole some of his joy as I stood there, feeling desperate to just get back in the van. When the realtor opened the door and walked in, she stepped aside…almost like she had planned to allow me to see the whole “front door view.” I looked up and it took my breath away. The floors, the stairs, the fireplace… It was beautiful! I stiffened my face and didn’t allow it to show the softening that my heart was feeling. Adrian walked in behind me and whispered, “Oh, Beck! Look at that staircase!” I saw it. We’ve always loved those kinds of staircases. We call them “wedding stairs” because they are the type of stairs that you can picture a bride walking down in her beautiful dress, to meet her daddy before he walks her down the aisle. I nodded, determined to keep myself from feeling anything. I’d fallen in love with too many houses… I was not going to do it, again. We slowly walked through the house. Adrian commented on everything: “Beck, I can just see us drinking coffee, out on the porch, on a lazy Saturday morning!” … “Beck, did you see the master closet?? I can totally see our clothes in there!” … “Beck, look at this stove! And these cupboards! You’ve always wanted cupboards like this!” … “Beck, look at the woodwork! Isn’t it beautiful??” … On and on, he went. After walking through the house, we walked outside. Adrian’s comments continued. “Beck! Look at this garden! I can just see you and the girls working out here!” … “Look at the kids running, Beck! They love this space!” … He was right. It WAS perfect and everything we’d wanted. It was also five hours from Williston. How would we make it work? What sacrifices would we have to make? (“We’ve already made so many,” I was quick to remind myself.) As we walked back into the house, Adrian turned to me and whispered, “Beck, I feel like we’re home.”
The realtor sat quietly, in the living room, while we looked around. When we walked back into the house, Adrian was the first to speak. “If we were to decide to make an offer on the house…” he began. I felt a sparkle of hope begin to build. We sat and talked with the realtor for quite a while. Our littles walked in and out of the house, exploring. Soon we heard them choosing their bedrooms and what colors the bathrooms would be. Part of me wanted to join the kids in their excitement, but another part of me wanted to stop them from getting attached to the house.
Adrian and I finished talking with the realtor, and gathered the littles to leave. Adrain, again, whispered that he felt like we were home…that he didn’t want to leave. The littles were still talking, excitedly, about all of their plans – a treehouse, a fort, chickens and goats, a pink bedroom, movie nights in the basement… I allowed myself to share in their excitement a bit. It *would be* nice to have a real home, again…and this house, even though it wasn’t where we planned to live, would sure be great for raising our family.
In the back of the van, there was a lot of fun planning going on. The kids seemed to have forgotten all of the dashed hopes from before – the houses that we couldn’t buy, the houses that weren’t built. They had already wrapped their hopes in this house…five hours away, in Wyoming. Adrian and I talked, too. Everything that I shared was about fear. Everything that he shared was about faith. I wanted to be mad at him, to make him see it my way. Couldn’t he see how scary this was? Couldn’t he see that we would be leaving everything we knew, again, and starting over? How could he be so sure?!!
After two days of deep discussion, lots of tears, and tons of prayers, Adrian made an offer on the house. A week later, we were able to come to an agreement. It was a bittersweet moment. It is such a wonderful blessing to know that we will be moving into our own home, again, soon. It’s a beautiful place to settle, and it feels good to know that our bigger littles will have somewhere to come “home” to when they venture out on their own. It makes us very sad to know that we will soon be leaving our friends behind, and that we will have to take an actual trip to see them. (Five hours in a van, with eleven children, is a trip.)
We are all looking forward to making memories in our new home…and we can’t wait for our friends and family to come out to visit.
To quote Phoebie, as she tried to grasp the sweet, and not the bitter: “It just looks like our ‘Journey to the West’ is continuing.”