In the fall of 2007 Chris started interviewing for faculty positions at almost exactly the same time we found out Melissa was pregnant. Academic institutions tend to move at the speed of glaciers, and as the interview process dragged on for months, we experienced steadily increasing anxiety about where we would be living during late pregnancy and who would provide medical care for Mom and baby. I grew so frustrated with these institutions that I jokingly suggested that if they did not make a decision soon then my pregnant wife would be contacting them directly for answers, acknowledging the fact that pregnant women are a force of nature that few people want to engage directly, and Melissa in particular can be pretty persuasive when she wants something. In early 2008 we decided that time was up: we would stay in Cleveland until the baby was born. We made this decision to reduce stress, but that year turned out to be pretty wild nonetheless: Chris ruptured a disc in his back in April; Everett was born in June; Melissa made the transition of being a full-time worker to full-time Mom, all the while maintaining her graduate work; Chris had his 40th birthday on August 1; a couple days later we moved to Wisconsin, and a couple days after that he started a new job; we were out of the country for the month of September for a research fellowship in Switzerland.

During the time since then our lives have not slowed down much, and this activity level has amplified the need for refuge, which can come in a variety of big and small ways. For example, we have a Sandra Boynton book called Pajama Time which contains a catchy song by the same name; for some time now when E gets excited he will run around saying “Jamma, Jamma, Jamma!”. So for Valentine’s Day we had a pajama breakfast party with Russ, Lauren, Nora and Virginia. Russ and Lauren whipped up a fantastic meal. Everett and Nora enjoyed breakfast and a movie together.

We also find refuge in the Zoo, the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Audubon Nature Center, which is a quiet, meditative place on Lake Michigan in northeast Milwaukee, shown in the photo at the top of the page and this one:

Our most recent visit to the Audubon Center was with Gabby & Grandaddy on a snowy spring day. We sat by the fire for a while,

then Everett found a wild turkey and finally went for a hike.

Whatever the activity or the place, our inspiration for finding refuge comes mostly from Everett. We want him to grow up in a joyful home, and as parents we want to manage our own lives well enough that we are consistently available to him. The other night at dinner he announced “Mommy happy, Daddy happy, Everett happy. Everybody happy!”, which is certainly a good sign.

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