Changes From COVID Influenced The Biggest Adventure of Our Lives

changes from COVID
The gift bag in the center is filled with toiletries I couldn’t live without and for emergencies. So glamorous! But we are all smiles on the road North!

The life changes from COVID are endless.

Can we count the ways that COVID has changed our lives? Where do we begin? Life as we know it has turned on its head, spun around fifty times, and then was asked to stand up straight. How can we do that? Answer: One day at a time.

Parents welcomed their grown children back home when they couldn’t go to work or lost their jobs. Empty Nester Moms and Dads readjusted to making meals for many instead of two once again. Were we sad they came home? No, not all. Adjustments were made, new routines were created, and bonds became even stronger.

I am confident that when we look back on this challenging year, we will find the good and the “better” in our lives. Did our priorities change? You bet they did. Slowing down did us all a lot of good. Of course, there are significant financial ramifications for many industries. The isolation, constant frustrations over almost everything, and the virus was deadly. But I know that I plan to focus on the “life got better” part because I don’t see anything positive about us focusing on the struggle or the negative.

changes from COVID

Because of the restrictions of COVID, my husband and I made one of the most significant decisions of our lives. After downsizing, moving, and renovating our Empty Nester home, we sold it and moved to another state. What? Why on earth would we do this? That’s easy, for family. In my book, our family is everything.

Here is the back story

At the beginning of the year, our daughter was pregnant with twins, and I had not seen her since she became pregnant. In March, my first trip to see her in Seattle was scheduled before the quarantines were issued, and we were just learning and feeling our way through this epidemic. My decision to go was hard, but I don’t regret a thing. You can read about it =>Here.

As we progressed through the COVID crisis, I think we all did the best we could with the information we received, but when I visited her for the second time in June for a Virtual Baby Shower, my life was forever changed.

virtual baby shower
Mother/daughter moment before the shower began.

Alex and I had a difficult heart to heart talk about facing the realities of COVID restrictions and newborn babies. At this point in the COVID journey, we had no idea how early the babies would come or what challenges she would face in the pregnancy. She was six months along, and we had a little time… at least that is what we thought!

As we talked through the possibilities, one alarming thought kept rushing through my brain. “I live in California, and any time I wanted to see the babies, I would have to fly to Seattle and quarantine for two weeks. How was that going to work?” I knew that COVID wouldn’t interfere with our lives forever, but I honestly had no idea how long social isolation would last. At this point, we still don’t know.

Did I want to give up one year of the twins’ life? No, I did not. Would we have to rent an Airbnb and quarantine for two weeks every time we wanted to see the babies? That’s a daunting and almost impossible circumstance.

Did I want to leave this perfect little Empty Nest we lovingly restored to the ideal place to live? Did I want to give up living one mile from my Mom and brothers? Getting together with friends? No and No. This is all so hard! 

However, I am going to be a grandma for the first time. Did I want to limit my ability to see them, care for them, watch them grow, and support our daughter? 100% of the people I shared this dilemma with said, “Absolutely, you should go.”

But how was this going to work?

Here are a few more exhausting details. I always say we need to #findadventure, and I am consistently walking that walk.

On June 26, we called Peggy Allison, our realtor, who I have known since I was 12. She is an amazing, real estate pro and can get the job done. No worries for me there, we knew we could trust her, and we needed one less thing to worry about! She put the wheels in motion, and we sold the house on July 3. The house was on the market for four days in total. We thought it would sell fast, but during COVID? We had no idea!

empty nester move
Moving an armoire over the balcony

However now we needed a home to go to in Washington. How was this going to happen? Could we find the right one quickly? Would we need an apartment first? Do we want to move twice? What city should we choose? How close should we live to Alex and Brent and the new grandchildren? What would be the perfect place for Empty Nesters? So many uncertainties!

I was introduced to a Seattle area realtor 18 months prior when my husband went to work for Amazon. Leon Woffinden was a professional, and I knew he could help if he worked on the east side of Seattle. We had no intention of living in the city this time around. What has happened in Downtown is heartbreaking and for another post.

empty nester move
I noticed these boxes all lined up and thought “this says a lot about the people who live here!”

Fast forward through video chats, multiple website links, and research – I/we found a house. It is entirely different from our last Empty Nest with plenty of room for guests (the family and friends I was leaving in California), and since the buyers of our house bought it for cash, this gave us a little more clout when buying here in Kirkland.

I studied, researched, and then researched more, we made the decision and secured this purchase. Everything was moving at warp speed. I had a constant sick feeling in my belly, making list after list to stay organized. 

The experience was not without countless headaches, setbacks, and frustrations. (You don’t want to hear them.)Instead of taking our time and leisurely shopping for a house, our challenges were jam-packed into a month’s time. Moving is never easy, but moving quickly to another state is almost lethal.

It did feel better once escrow closed, but we still had a long way to go.

The road to our new Empty Nest was filled with a few potholes

We were not just moving ourselves and Rocco; we moved Claudia too, Craig’s 86 year old Mom. Buckle up; it could get bumpy.

Change is hard for everyone, and add in the worry of COVID and being 86 years old, my mother in law was a champ. She embraced the adventure and couldn’t wait to get going. 

changes from COVID
Moving during COVID is way more complicated

More changes from COVID

In addition to packing our house, we had to pack up her storage unit and her apartment. Due to COVID, we couldn’t take her on a plane. So Craig, Suzanne, Claudia, and Rocco were stuffed into our SUV and drove the 2,336 miles to Kirkland, Washington. Once we arrived in Washington, our delayed escrow in Kirkland lengthened our stay from 4 to 15 days in a hotel. It sounds glamorous, but it is not.

This adventure was challenging and at times just felt, ridiculous. Many tears were shed (mine), it was completely exhausting, emotionally draining and our pregnant daughter Alex and her husband Brent got COVID! Can you believe it?  We were worried sick and then the babies came early! To be clear, both Alex and Brent had fully recovered from COVID by the time the babies delivered, but she had to endure a couple of hospital stays due to high blood pressure. You can’t make this up if you tried.

Of course, we could not help or visit her, just be there for her/them when they called. What a helpless feeling. Let’s pile that worry on to everything else and you will know how hard this really was. It’s actually hard for me to type these words but cathartic! It’s good to let it out, don’t you think?

Stay tuned for the rest of the story! Babies, new Mom, and Dad are fine, but it was a roller coaster ride.

changes from COVID
Meeting James and Josephine for the first time.
holding newborns
Our first meeting with our new twin grandchildren – James and Josephine

Have you made a BIG change like this? How did you feel? Are you glad you did it?

How have the life changes from COVID affected you? How about personal philosophies?

This move is the biggest adventure of our lives, and I often pause to think, what have I done? Every time I pause, I remind myself of the big picture and how this adventure will succeed on every level. I am still smack in the middle of the adventure and we are not settled yet. We are painting the interior of the house while living in it and there is more to be fixed.

Life is not easy, and we learn from the challenges substantially more than we ever learn from our triumphs.

We moved five weeks ago, and there is more to the story. Check back soon!

Thanks so much for your encouraging words through social media; it was life-saving (mine!). I appreciate you!

Suzanne

Our new house! More soon!

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22 thoughts on “Changes From COVID Influenced The Biggest Adventure of Our Lives”

      • Suzanne, we are moving to Portugal. The whole thing is daunting. I am encouraged at how quickly you have come out the other side! Congratulations on those beautiful grand babies and for having a clear vision of what is important to you.

        Reply
        • Oh my gosh, that is so exciting! Life is short – you must find adventure and you have!!! Where in Portugal? Our first trip there was canceled due to COVID this year. When do you go?

          Reply
          • 16 months. Looking at Cascais or the Silver Coast. I will piggy back on my husband’s EU citizenship. Clean, beautiful weather and beaches, safe, great fresh food and lovely people. Way slower pace of life. We will lease the house and spend a year in a rental and move forward from there. Bonus, closer to Ireland and hopefully grandkids.

  1. I just love reading this journey of yours, and yes I would have made the very same decision. Family is everything! I just love the picture of all of you in the car with MOM and Dog too! Your amazing and love reading all about your family. Makes me feel sane! By the way looking at these beautiful twins it was so worth it! Enjoy!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! I share our story for my sanity and to celebrate life. Right now life is not the same for anyone is it? Thanks again for reading and for taking a moment to comment.

      Reply
  2. Suzanne,
    I have known all along that your family comes first for you. Don’t forget that this is not the first move that you made for someone you love. You made the move to Pasadena, away from the home where you raised your family, for the love of your dad. That move worked out well for you. Now, you have moved again. This time for your daughter and her family. I am confident that this move will be even better for you in the long run. Thanks for sharing the good times and the difficult times of your adventure with all of us.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Jan. It is friends like you that help me through these challenging decisions. You feel the same way about your family! I look forward to when things calm down and everything doesn’t feel so new and different!

      Reply
  3. Glad you are in your new house…the paint will dry, any repairs or changes finished, and at the end you will be so glad you are nearby to your grand babies. So thankful your daughter and SIL are healthy now. Sending you prayers for bright days ahead!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much. There was so much worry there for a while. The four of them are healthy and everything else is secondary. Thank you for your kind comments and prayers!

      Reply
  4. Feel like we just had a chat, love the way you express yourself. Cannot even imagine the decisions you’ve made. Blessings to you and your family on this journey. I am a firm believer that everything happens as it should. This is what was meant to be!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much. It was all swift and emotional. I do believe we have made the right decision, it was just so hard to make certain choices. I couldn’t have it all. Thank you too for reading and for your encouraging support!

      Reply
  5. I have loved reading your travel adventures and cannot wait until we can all travel again. But reading of your new adventures of moving and the birth of your twin grandchildren have been a joy to read as well. You and your husband absolutely made the right call, as hard as it was, to move near your grandchildren. We are fortunate that our six grandchildren all live very close to us but we would move in a heartbeat to be near them. All the best in your new home!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words! This has been a challenging adventure and lovely to hear from other grandparents!

      Reply

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