We rolled the truck windows down and let spring blow in as we coasted the city streets, that boy and I. The radio cranked tunes loud and we couldn't help but sway to the beat of Cruise by Florida-Georgia Line, he in the passenger's seat, and I behind the wheel.
It was us. Just the two of us. Between long natural pauses, our languages meshed as the wheels turned, spinning out conversation that was both light and deep, both trivial and completely relevant.
We'd headed out to watch a movie, but really, it was so much more than that.
People have wondered about the dynamics of a family of five living together in such a little house. I wonder about this, too. Honestly, as I think about it, it's a bit hard for me to describe or define, because I don't seem to give it much thought.
We simply live, in a small house.
I suppose our life philosophy and our own childhoods prepared us in a way for living small. My husband and I always intended to have our relationships as a family be most important, we always wanted to be close-knit and sharing in each other's lives. It was a goal from the start to cultivate this however we could.
So, from the beginning, our boys have shared a room. When whoever was the baby could no longer fit in the basket beside our bed, he would join his brother/brothers in the boy room. This worked for us, even with fussy babies. Because it was their normal from the start, beyond the first week or so of adjusting, the boys didn't wake up when a sibling began to cry during the night.
It wasn't a giant leap, then, for our boys to go from the triple-decker bunkbed that they'd shared for years, to their own curtained bed nooks in the loft. There is room for each of them and their personalities there.
There's also room for them to learn to get along. From neat nick to messy, they span the spectrum and have the opportunity several times a day to regard their differences, to respect each other, to manage their things, and to thump on each other when the need arises (they're boys, after all). They know intimately both the tension and the bond that strong relationships are made of.
Life is hard. While our purpose and intention is to deflect those things that would be detrimental to their young souls, we would be remiss if we created and then allowed our boys to grow up in the bubble of a perfect world. We all want the fairy tale; trouble is, we're not going to find it here. The first wicked prick to flatten that illusion can throw a hell of a blow.
Instead, we'd rather go at this bumpy life together. We'd rather be elbow to elbow, in the mess, cheering each other on. We'd rather laugh together through the work and hold each other through the tears. We'd rather lead our boys through the challenges, instead of going around them. If we can place in their hands the tools they'll need to navigate the mole hill and the Everest, then we will have succeeded.
The movie would soon start. I hung a right, turning the deep-throated truck west toward the theater, our open windows spilling music that roiled in our wake.
This is second in a series of posts in which I look back on the past two years of living in 665 square feet as a family of five.