If we had to do this all over again, I never would have moved out of our house in California without a new home to go to in Virginia. While staying in a hotel for a few weeks while we found a new place sounded like a good idea - the reality is that not having the stability of a home has been the hardest part about this whole transition.
Charlie and I are planning to drive back to Virginia this weekend. In large part because we have a (new) approved offer on a home and we need to meet with the inspector(s) on Monday morning. We'll be gone for a week and then I'll return to South Carolina the week of August 23rd when Charlie flies back to California to supervise the packing and shipment of our house to Virginia. The following week, we'll drive up to Virginia and directly in to our new home.
As it currently stands, we're scheduled to close escrow on our California house on Monday August 30; close escrow on our Virginia house Septemeber 1; our furniture is due to arrive on September 3 and the triplets begin Kindergarten September 7.
My mother has been urging for us to leave the triplets with her while we do all this back-and-forth, but she's been having such significant health issues over the past few months, I'm worried how she'd manage three five-year-olds.
But then. Yesterday.
When we were at the pool, one of my mother's neighbors ... a woman who was my highschool guidance counselor ... walked past. She stopped to talk with us for a while and as she heard about our situation, she suggested that if we do leave the children with my mother, we enroll them in Kindergarten (which begins next week), until we are settled.
My mother loved the idea of this. She could spend quality time with her grandchildren, but for a solid six hours a day, they'd be constructively entertained and educated by professionals. And since school in Virginia doesn't begin until after Labor Day, the children would have approximately three weeks of instruction in South Carolina before they start.
Relative to being dragged all around the mid-Atlantic, this does sound great.
The problem is, Charlie and I were so focused on getting out of California for Virginia that we left behind all of our administrative paperwork. And as it turns out, it's quite difficult to buy a house without tax returns and bank statements; and even more difficult to register a child for school without vaccination records and birth certificates.
(Thank you again, Debbie, for breaching security measures today to retrieve those documents and send them to us, overnight!!)
So today, as we were talking to school administrators, they told us that there is a loophole for parents that don't have access to immunization records and/or birth certificates. And that "loophole" is for those parents to characterize themselves as homeless.
In South Carolina, homeless is defined as any one who does not have a fixed residential address. For instance, those people who live in a car, recreational vehicle, abandoned building, hotel or motel, or with a family member, meet the classification. After talking a little more with school administrators, they have deemed that our family is genuinely "transitionally homeless" and as such, our children are eligible to attend school AND receive a free hot lunch.
(My mother nearly erupted with cheering.)
(She could spend quality time with the children AND she didn't have to pack them a lunch?!)
While I wouldn't feel comfortable accepting that, I do appreciate that such a program exists for people who really need it. This time has been so incredibly stressful - and yet, I know it will end soon. In the meantime, we realize that we are so blessed and lucky to have each other, our health (except today when Elizabeth had an actual seizure because her temperature spiked) and a place to go.
Earlier tonight, my mother was telling me about a man who is living in her church's "reprieve" house. He is the single father of four children. He recently lost his wife, his job, his home, his vehicle, and all his savings.
Suffice it to say, this experience has really given me a whole different perspective and appreciation for what we have. It also has us counting our blessings in a whole new way.