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I found my brand-new husband, sitting on the floor of the only bedroom in our brand-new house. His back propped against the wall, muscular legs extending from his khaki shorts, bare feet overlapping at the ankles. His arms were crossed in a gesture of defiance and there was an unfamiliar, challenging scowl on his face.

Plopping down beside him on the scratchy harvest gold carpeting, I asked, “What’s wrong?”

“This is it?” he mumbled. “This is what we used our savings for?”

I stood up, tugging on his bent elbows in a vain attempt to get him to his feet. “C’mon, get up. You’re suffering from buyer’s remorse. Once we move our furniture in, it’ll be cozy.”

But he didn’t get up. He sat there, silent, for a really long time. Had we moved too fast?

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A mutual friend introduced Rick and I in September of 1975. Swept up in a whirlwind of young love, urgency, and a mutual, deep, abiding faith in God, we were engaged by Christmas and married in May. Up until that very moment, I never doubted our alacritous pace. But now, watching my despondent husband just sitting there, I wondered if we had moved too quickly.

I confess, I didn’t feel the same way. I was exhilarated. After all, this was our first house together. I couldn’t wait to make it our own! I loved the tiny, cube-shaped, 740 square foot house, across the street from an elementary school, four doors down from the United Church and kitty-corner to Chicken-on-the-Way.

To be veracious, the house was hardly brand new. It was a teeny, tiny pre-war bungalow built in the 1930s in the neighborhood where I grew up. It was June 1976, and the song “Afternoon Delight” was playing incessantly on radio stations, Gerald Ford was the President of the U.S., and the price of a gallon of gas was .59 cents.

In no time, I was pregnant. I’d like to say we planned it that way. I took maternity leave from work in my eighth month and passed the time until our baby was born by walking everywhere around the old neighborhood. Across the bridge into downtown, several blocks to Riley Park, and a couple of streets over to visit my 83-year-old grandma, who still lived in my childhood home. I walked to Safeway for groceries and watched a movie in the theatre where I grew up watching cartoons and Disney movies on Saturday for a .25 cent admission price. Even in my progressively uncomfortable state of pregnancy, it was one of the sweetest times of my life.

In February of 1977, our precious and healthy baby boy Chris was born. Love grew exponentially in our marriage that day. We set up his crib in a corridor between the kitchen and the bathroom. Friends and family came to visit, tactfully avoiding the subject of our cramped quarters. Except that is, for my dad.

“My grandson sleeps in a closet? You put the baby in a closet?”

“No, Dad! It’s not a closet.”

“Well, it looks like one to me.”

“Well, it’s not. Clearly, it’s a hallway. Believe me, the baby is fine.”

Rick eventually came around. He cherished our baby boy, grew fond of the neighbors: old Jim on one side, young Peter on the other, and he appreciated his short commute to work. Since he loved me, he loved our beautiful baby boy, and he loved the life we were making for ourselves, he was content.

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In 1978, a developer rang our doorbell. He wanted to buy our property and our neighbors’ properties to build a condominium. As we wanted siblings for Chris, we knew we needed more space. Accepting the offer, we moved to a bungalow in the suburbs, 300 square feet larger.

After 48 years, family births, deaths, and countless bumps in the road, Rick and I are still happily married. Occasionally, I drive down our old street. Although there is a brick condo building where our little home used to be, I reminisce. I see Chris taking his first wobbly baby steps. I see Rick and I learning not only how to live together, but to care for a child.

Contentment, wisdom, and foresight have replaced the urgency of youth. I’m forever grateful to God for this time in our lives. Turns out, we built a rock-solid foundation in that teeny, tiny house. Turns out, our speedy pace was as it was meant to be. Turns out, relying on our faith in God’s plan and in each other has served us well.

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Kim Hanson

Kim is a writer who has come to her craft much later in life. She works daily from her home-based studio in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. A majority of her published work can be seen on her website www.KimHanson.ca/press. She loves to write about God, children, family, and nature, most of all.

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