I've been very patiently waiting for our three-bedroom apartment. Well, at least I feel like I've been very patient. Brandon has been with State for over five years now and if there's one thing that having your life ruled and ordered by The Bureaucracy teaches you, it's patience. Either that or it teaches you new and inventive ways of swearing.
It also helps your patience when you are married to an inveterate pessimist like Brandon. Every time a sentence beginning with "when we move to a three-bedroom," escaped my lips, Brandon would look significantly at me with raised eyebrows. "If," he would correct, "If we move to a three-bedroom. And then if we get one, it will probably be just before we leave for post." It's not hard to be patient when you're constantly being reminded of timelines like those.
Still, I couldn't help feeling sorry for myself - after all, four children in a two-bedroom apartment? - until I met my neighbors across the hall who beat me all to pieces with five children in a two-bedroom apartment. And all of them boys.
So I told myself not to get my hopes up until I saw them start schlepping their stuff out because I'm pretty sure they're even more deserving than we are.
But still I couldn't help but talk about it around the playground and sandbox (occasionally known as the volleyball court) with other mothers because we all have time to kill while watching our children and they would reassure me with tales of friends in three-bedrooms who were moving out before my baby is due.
I even found out that someone in my building on my floor was moving out mid-April. I brought this up with Brandon. "Wouldn't that be perfect,?" I made the mistake of enthusing one evening, "we wouldn't even have to take the elevator! It would be the easiest move ever! Of course the apartment is on the other side of the building so we wouldn't get the afternoon sunlight, but I'd still take it because the move would just be so...." I trailed off as Brandon lifted a finger and his eyebrows simultaneously. "If," he reminded me. "If."
Friday evening I ran into my neighbors moving. Curious and chatty, I asked them where their new apartment was. "It's on this floor!" they exclaimed, "talk about an easy move!" I knew the likelihood of being able to snag that apartment was slim, but a girl has to hope, right?
I came in and told Brandon the sad news. We knew that we were next on the waiting list and it was a little wrenching to realize that the golden apartment had been given away to the family in line just before us. I imagined load after load after load of books and clothes and frozen food and toys having to be wheeled down the elevator, across parking lots, and up another elevator with all four children in tow for hours on end. Maybe we could steal all of the luggage carts, load them up during the day, line them down the hall, and have Brandon move them at night after everyone went to bed? I hate moving. At least I wasn't going to have to take my clothes off hangers.
Then my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number and prepared to hang up on a Spanish robo-call. Evidently the last possessor of my number had spoken Spanish. "Hello, is Mrs. or Mr. Sherwood there?" I warily assured the caller that this was Mrs. Sherwood. "This is the Oakwood leasing office. I understand that you are on the waiting list for a three-bedroom apartment. Are you still interested in moving to one?" My voice rose a few pitches as I confirmed that yes, I was very much interested. "Well, it looks like we have an apartment coming open next Wednesday. And... it looks like it's in your building... actually, on your floor. Well, isn't that convenient?"
By this point Brandon was staring at me in complete confusion as I danced around the apartment in utter happiness telling the caller on my phone that he had just made my whole weekend. I hung up. "Brandon!!" I shouted, "we're getting a new apartment on Wednesday! And it's the exact apartment I wanted!!! Hooray!!!!!"
That night I had a lot of things to thank my Heavenly Father for, as usual. My health, my family's health, the baby coming soon, Brandon's job, our families, the happiness we enjoy, and for his tender mercy in caring what apartment we will live in for the next six months. I know that we would have been just as happy in any apartment we live in. I'm grateful that we have somewhere warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and clean every Friday afternoon. We'll only be here six more months and I can deal with anything for six months. But it's a testament that He cares about even the little things in our life when He answers prayers about things as silly as which side of the building we live on.