I posted this New Year’s Eve poem which is about an empty nest celebration, but that is not what our New Year is in 2017.
Rather, we are starting 2017 with spouse B, daughters E and T, and me all living under the same roof.
Which I never expected to have happen again.
It’s a wonderful – but most likely short-lived – opportunity.
And, like the entirety of 2016, it’s complicated.
I have been making vague references about re-organizing the house and about Christmas being quiet and such, but now I am at liberty to fill in some of the background story.
E and her spouse L have been living in Hawai’i and, this fall, they announced the exciting and happy news that they are expecting their first child! Baby will be the first grandchild for us, the first great-grandchild for my parents Nana and Paco, and the first grandchild for L’s parents who live in London, England.
E and L wanted to live closer to family for the birth of their child and, while Hawai’i is one of the most beautiful locations on earth, it is also one of the most remote. The problem arose, though, that E is a US citizen and L is a UK citizen who had been living in the US on a higher education visa. Leaving Hawai’i meant leaving the University, so his visa expired at the end of the year.
E and L also decided that they would raise their child in the country with the most supportive social and family policies, which is definitely the UK. So, L flew out New Year’s Eve to join his family in London. He will continue to apply for jobs; after six months of work, he can apply for a visa for E to join him.
Meanwhile, E will live with us, work remotely for her employer in Honolulu, and get ready for Baby’s arrival, sometime around July first. Obviously, it is not optimal for them to be separated during E’s pregnancy, but she will be able to visit a couple of times during her second trimester and L plans to apply for a spousal visitation visa to be here for Baby’s birth and early weeks.
In case you haven’t gotten the subtext, it is really, really difficult to observe all the immigration rules of the two countries, but E and L want to make sure not to break any laws to preserve their future rights to live and work in both countries. Baby will be a dual citizen.
So, to prepare for E’s staying with us for these next months, we have spent the last few weeks in major household re-organization. The most important change was for B and me to move to one of the upstairs bedrooms so that E could be on the ground floor and not have to navigate the relatively steep and narrow stairs while pregnant and while carrying Baby. The re-organization also gave the impetus to incorporate some of the furniture that had been Grandma’s into our home. An attic and basement insulation project gave us some additional storage capabilities and we also made some donations to area charities.
This all took many, many hours, so that is part of why my writing time has been curtailed lately. (Given my track record, I will refrain from any promises about posting more; the one constant in my life is surprises!)
So, E and L arrived the day after Christmas. We had a few days of family visiting. E and L were able to meet the local obstetrician who will be caring for E. And, on New Year’s Eve, L flew off to London.
At seven o’clock Eastern Standard Time, B, E, T, and I celebrated the arrival of 2017 at midnight GMT with a sparkling Niagara grape juice toast in our once-again family-of-four living room.
It won’t last long. When a job offer comes in, T will move to wherever she needs to be. In early summer, L will arrive and, on some currently unknowable day, Baby will arrive.
And, when her visa comes through, E and Baby will move to the UK.
Next New Year’s Eve is likely to be back to empty nest.
All the more reason to cherish the moment now.
This post is part of Linda’s Just Jot It January. Join us! You can find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/01/jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-1st17/ . Prompts are provided but are entirely optional. And any post of any length on any January day is eligible. Hope you’ll jump in and have fun with us!