How our lives have changed in the last eight weeks since John’s arrival. I described it to a friend this week as feeling like a balloon that was stretched to the bursting point, then released with a pin prick.
Now, instead of two people in the house, there are six. Bo has companionship and help. I too have companionship and help, plus freedom to have a life outside of my house.
This is how it happened.
Just before John arrived here, his house burned down, and he and his wife and two children (ages 7 and 10) were homeless. For two weeks they lived in a church, then moved in with a family. John was coming here as many hours as we needed each day as I was recovering from my knee injury — driving me, cooking and cleaning and being Bo’s caretaker/companion. He spent more time with us than with his family.
I did a lot of thinking about how much sense it would make for them to live here until they can buy a house. After several long discussions, they moved into our basement last week. We share bathrooms and kitchen and sometimes eat together. His wife takes the children to school then goes to work at her hair salon or the ice cream shop daily. Today she grocery shopped before work.
John is now here most of every day, doing whatever needs to be done, caring for Bo and Emma, keeping the house and yard clean and in order. He cares for another client Thursday and Sunday evenings.
The children are mannerly and fun to have around, and the teacher in me has taken over. Once again I’m excited about the holiday season, so I’ve decided to plan a different outing each Saturday with them. The three of us have tickets to holiday plays, the Philadelphia Orchestra children’s concert, the ballet, and, of course, the light show and Dickens Village at Macy’s in Philadelphia. I’m more excited than they are.
What does Bo think about all of this? John is new to him every day, and he doesn’t realize that they live here. He accepts the extra people walking through or eating with us at dinner without question. How can I explain Bo now? He knows me and wants to know where I am, but his personal world – what he’s aware of — is changing so much now that I’m not sure he recognizes his own home even though it’s his familiar world. Most days he wants to know when he’s going home. Earlier this week, he wanted me to call his mother and tell her that he’s here.