“Not too much water in one place,” I tell her, “just an even bit over the top, like rain.”

She holds the weight of the watering can in two hands, elbows up, knees bent, and pours. Broccoli, kale, sweet snow peas. Primrose weaves her way through them all, avoiding the water that tumbles recklessly.

“Do you like it here?” I ask, and she smiles.

“Uh-huh! Much better than our old apartment. Will we move again one day mama?”

The sun is hot overhead, even for October, turning the skin on my back a deep pink. The yard is thick with bee song, the smell of sun-baked straw, rosemary blooms, rotting leaves. I break a green piece from a plant and put half in my teeth, half in her palm. Sweet stevia melts over our tongues and we both say mmmm.

“We won’t move again, my love. Not now. Not for a long time, and maybe not ever. How does that sound?”

She thinks it over, and then nods. “Good.”

“Good,” I agree. And it is.

Whew! There has been so, so, so much going on. I would love to offer an update, not because any of it is remarkably interesting, but because it helps me to sort out tangled details. I used to journal daily - keeping track of silly, little things and very round and loud and important things. I haven’t much anymore, and I’d like to start again. Maybe here, with you, will be the place I turn to first.

In September, we found comfort in the sound of cardboard sweeping, boxes shuffling, stacking, packing paper wrapping, crunch crunch crunch! We sorted and donated and sold and packed. And we moved. Only a few city blocks from our tiny apartment, back into a home so sweet and familiar. The house on Bradford.

We’ve owned this leaning Victorian for nearly 7 years now! And yet, we’ve only lived in it for a very short while, a long time ago. Six bedrooms, two kitchens, and a quarter of an acre of downtown land, we are overflowing with abundance here. And yet, with the toy shop as our only source of income, we couldn’t afford the mortgage for a long while. We rented the house for years, often walking by on the way to the shop, whispering to one another, making plans.

And now, here we are. Breathing in. We are home.

We’ve turned the upstairs of the home into a separate, four bedroom unit, which we will rent for a while as a residence, and then eventually (soon, soon!) turn into a sustainable bed and breakfast!

The shop has been doing well - every year the busy season comes with the cold wind and it’s nipping at our heels already. We’re doing the best with what we have to stock the shelves and do all the things before the holidays. Daily we hold one another and spill gratitude for this life, for the choices we made that brought us here, for the incredible grace, and luck, and grace grace grace.

Each evening, we turn the lights low and half-listen for baby breathing in the next room over. We mumble about the beautiful things, about the challenging things, about the things we haven’t done and hope to do. We hear someone playing a flute in a room above us, and somewhere just past the edge of the yard, two cats fight.

I am very simply and truly enveloped by it all - no longer overwhelmed or feeling unfulfilled. Held so gently between my own palms, it seems, and learning to be more gentle still.

Kristen Hedges