We Are There


During one of the busiest points of grad school at Yale for Chris, he came home one night to find a hearty, home cooked meal: Chinese take out. We ate at our tiny kitchen table together while he told me about how stressful grad school was, about how he wasn’t sure he could make it through, and about how sometimes he just wanted to give up. I sat with him, listening, holding his hand, and trying to find the right words to help him through, but in the end, it was a fortune cookie that said what I didn’t know yet. Chris opened his cookie to find the words, “You are almost there,” printed in red ink. That night, he took that fortune cookie and put it on our bathroom mirror as a daily reminder to him that he was one day closer to his goal.

When Chris graduated from Yale almost a year later, he took a job in New York and I kept my job in Connecticut and we bought a house halfway in between. It was our first home and we were, as my Grandma says, tickled pink.

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It wasn’t too long after that move that I started itching for a baby. And it wasn’t too long after that itch that I became pregnant with Bean Man. I think I have sufficiently proven throughout this blog that I am a terrible pregnant woman. I complain. I moan. I pick fights. I swell. I cry. I complain some more. Often during those long nine months, Chris would point to that fortune, now taped to the bathroom mirror in our new house, and say to me, “You’re almost there, Pookey!” And we would laugh and hug and kiss and think about how close my due date was coming.

27 Weeks

Before we knew it, Bean Man was in our lives and we had never been happier. Couldn’t imagine being any happier, really. Everything was wonderful.

Except…

Except I started missing my family like crazy. Every minor milestone Bean experienced in his first nine months of life made me wince a bit on the inside because there was no family around to share in that excitement with us. And so, after a few months of talking it over, thinking it through, and turning it over in prayer, we made the decision to move back to Florida to be closer to both mine and Chris’s families. As we packed our house in Connecticut, I cried and Chris quickly wiped a tear from his own eye as he took down his tattered fortune slip from our bathroom mirror and placed it inside his wallet.

“We’re going home,” he said to me. “We’re almost there.”

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When we pulled into the tiny rental house that we had rented sight unseen from Connecticut, my heart broke. It was the first time I thought that we had made a huge mistake. I remember as our friends and family helped us unload our moving truck, I ducked behind a small shed in the backyard and cried my eyes out for about two minutes. What had we done? What had we given up? What were we thinking? But, I pulled myself together and reminded myself that this was a six month rental and that, very soon, we would be in a house all our own. When Chris taped that fortune to our bathroom mirror that night, I smiled and felt my spirits lift a bit. This was just a pit stop. We were almost there.

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After several months of an unsuccessful job search, I found myself unemployed, uninsured, and, as luck would have it, pregnant again. I thought life couldn’t possibly get any worse. And then that horrid little rental house was broken into and I learned that things can ALWAYS get worse. As we packed up our house the morning after the home invasion, Chris and I picked up pictures out of broken frames thrown around our house, wedding China scattered throughout the dining room, and baby toys covered in the clam chowder the burglars had poured all over everything. We hastily threw everything into moving boxes and hauled all that we owned almost two hours away to my parents house where we would recoup and look for a better place to live. Just as we pulled out of the driveway of that terrible place, Chris stopped the car and ran back inside. He came out carrying his fortune, torn from the third bathroom mirror it had known in three years.

“Things will get better,” Chris told me. “We’re almost there.”

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At my parent’s house, all of our things were kept in boxes and stored in the house wherever there was room, which meant every room was full of boxes and things and junk. It was a mess and I felt like we were camping. I was pregnant and nauseous, but we were safe and healthy and Bean didn’t seem to know anything was amiss, and that was what mattered to me. But at night, after we were in bed, Chris and I would lay close to each other and whisper all our worries and all our disappointments into the night until we were too tired to think anymore. And then we would hold hands and drift off to unrestful sleep, where I would dream over and over again that someone had broken into our house and taken my son. The only light during that time for us was that I finally found a job. I became a middle school teacher and with my salary, we were able to move into a beautiful rental home in a better part of town.

As we unpacked our things and pinched ourselves at all the space we now had, Chris once again taped his fortune to the bathroom mirror. This house was wonderful and the answer to so many of our prayers, but it wasn’t home yet. We were certainly closer though.

We were almost there.

In March, Gracie was born and our family was complete. She brought sleepless nights, colic, and so much darn sunshine with her that I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to be happy. Why I couldn’t let go of the fear of someone taking my children from me. Why I couldn’t get out of bed in the afternoons. Why I couldn’t do stupid tasks like paying our bills without bursting into tears. Depression was a slow, smooth, all-consuming abductor to me and before I knew what was happening, it tainted everything around me. In those lowest moments, Chris would hold me and whisper into my ear that this was almost over. I was almost done. And if I could just push through for a little bit longer, we would get there. And we would get there together.

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Today, as I cleaned out our bathroom in that beautiful rental house, I was just about to turn out the light and leave when something caught my eye. There in the corner of the bathroom mirror was Chris’s fortune.

At different points in our marriage, there has been a variety of places. We’ve graduated from graduate school, bought a home, had a baby, moved back across the country, face unemployment, cleaned up a home invasion, found new career paths, had another baby, moved again, and bought another house. We’ve arrived places only to find that the finish line has been pushed back further and we were once again on journey together.

I guess that’s part of marriage. Part of life, really. Always looking ahead, always planning for the future, always working to get there.

But as we pulled out of the driveway of that beautiful rental home who protected us from any more hardship, giving us time to lick our wounds from the past year and get back on our feet once again, I pulled that fortune out of my wallet where I had placed it for safe keeping. I showed it to Chris and we laughed for a nostalgic moment about all the places and milestones that fortune had wisely foreseen in our lives.

“Well, we made it,” Chris said. “We’re there.”

I squeezed his hand and smiled. Yes, we were.

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78 Thoughts to “We Are There”

  1. Beautiful! And inspiring. This post gives me hope for our own journey and reminds me that it’s ok to hold out hope for “there.” Many blessings on your new home!

  2. God Bless you guys! You are there. While I don’t have a fortune our thing is Todd has to hug me and my head fits right in the nape of his neck and he will say it is going to be alright! And in those moments I know it will be. We are so happy for you guys! I always hang on to that you once said you know you are raising your kids there, you know where Bean will be going to kindergarten, you know where you will be raising your family. We are in the midst of what if’s and what now’s and I hang on knowing that the moment of where Braeden will go to school or where he will have a sibling will soon come in time and in patience. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey. Welcome Home Brown family!

  3. Its awesome to realize that you’ve finally landed on your oasis after such a long time in rough seas. Steadfastness always seems to pay off. πŸ™‚ Cabin Fever in Vermont

  4. Absolutely beautiful :). Wonderful post, Katie!

  5. JoHanna

    I cried at the end of this. Your posts are always inspiring.

  6. Such a touching post. As someone who is going through her own struggles in life right now, this post really spoke to me. I love how your blog is so open and honest. And I am so happy that y’all are there. πŸ™‚

  7. OMG I cried a little bit. I have been reading your blog religiously since about January. I feel like I know you, so this really touched me. And it reminded me that I too am “almost there.” P.S. I felt like I was stealing from you when I named my new blog Classy Confessions, but I really couldn’t think of anything else, so I decided it is me paying respect to you because you made me want to blog!

  8. Amy L Butler

    Another great post! I love all of these stories. It really gives me hope. I am blessed with an amazing husband and two wonderful daughters and many other things, but we are not quite where I want us to be. This post has given me a boost to keep working hard to get what we really want. Some day we’ll get there too! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  9. Cindy

    What an awesome post– you are truly an inspiration to a lot of people!

  10. HeatherM

    I love this story. This is what marriage is all about.
    By the way, is your depression any better? If so, what has helped? If not, what do you plan to do next about it? I didn’t realize before how close your depression was linked to the home invasion. Have you suffered from any PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) since the invasion?
    I’m glad to hear that so many areas of your life are finally “there.”

  11. Amy Jo

    Aaaaand now I’m crying. Sweet, sweet post!

  12. Christy

    “Like a plant that starts up in showers and sunshine and does not know which has best helped it to grow, it is difficult to say whether the hard things or the pleasant things did me the most good.” ~Lucy Larcom

  13. What a beautiful reading. It’s crazy all that we go through on a mission to “get there”. I am happy that you two made it through with flying colors. I wish you and your family the absolute best.

  14. Marina

    This is such a great post (I might have cried just a little), I am so happy for you and Chris! Congrats on the move and a beautiful family

  15. Rachel @ The Ongoing Planner

    That is just what I needed to hear today. We are almost there. There will be a lot of “there”s for us too, but knowing you survived through so much gives me hope!

  16. Wow! what a beautiful post Katie! very inspiring! it couldnΒ΄t come in a better timing for me..

    Lots of Blessings!

  17. Jo Farrow

    I miss you guys! I am so glad that you are doing well and are able to share your story.

    jo (mcinerney) farrow

  18. Beautiful. And just what I needed to read tonight. So happy you’re there now. Looking forward to when I can say the same!

  19. What a lovely post! That really struck home with me. Our house got broken into in June, and made me so afraid someone was going to break in and take Moose in the night. Then we moved to another state, and are starting all over. Now we’re not sure we can afford where we are living, so we might be moving again. So difficult, but I know that God has to have a plan for all this.

  20. “Almost there”- that’s exactly where we are. Thank you for the eloquent reminder that we’re still in the middle of this journey. So happy that you guys are doing so well!

  21. Oh Katie, you just made me cry, this is so sweet (they were good tears!).

    I’m so happy for you and the place you’ve found in your life. Thanks for sharing so much of it with us, and I hope that no matter what happens, you continue to feel that you are “there.”

  22. Oh Katie, you should really write a book. Both my hubby & i read that together – i can’t tell you what that means to us. Thank you for always being honest & sharing your marital & mommy wisdom πŸ™‚ And congrats to you & Chris for “getting there”

  23. This made me cry too. It’s funny because I have had one fortune that has followed me throughout my life. I kept getting that same special fortune, 3 times in fact. I saved it each time and it was the only one I ever saved, and the only one that really meant something to me.

    “You are almost there.”

    I am so happy to hear that that same fortune means something to my favorite pretend friends too!!

  24. 80

    Best post yet!! Inspiring and absolutely wonderfully written! Congratulations once more. Y’all are there!! πŸ™‚

  25. So happy for you guys that you “are there”
    Beautiful post!

  26. Laura

    You guys make me so happy πŸ™‚ Good for you!

  27. Lisa

    A beautiful and inspiring post. I am so happy for you and your family. You certainly have been through your share of struggles but all of it has finally paid off!

  28. I’m so happy for you πŸ™‚ I felt somewhat tearful while reading this. You are there. xxxx

  29. Oh man, you guys made me cry AGAIN. This is absolutely beautiful, and I am so glad that after all of the things you have been through since you left Connecticut, you finally feel at home. On a side note, Rob and I have a fortune that we’ve kept since our third date which says “You will soon discover how fortunate you truly are”. It’s on our refrigerator, and we kept it because we both got the same fortune that night. It turned out to be so true for us. πŸ™‚

  30. I should be getting ready for work, but I stopped to read this. Beautiful. I’m sure you will have more “theres” in your life but you’ve reached a place to grow. You can watch your kids grow up while you and Chris grow older and closer together. Very happy for y’all.

  31. Tiffany

    Beautiful and Inspiring. I am so darn happy for you guys.

  32. Amy

    Oh, wow… beautifully said, Katie πŸ™‚ I have so much joy for you & your family– and this post gives me so much hope for my own future… “…Almost there.” Thank you <3

  33. Emily

    Thank you so much for this post! it actually puts it into perspective after trying unsuccessfully to sell our house, what a blessing it has been for us. it was our safe haven to “lock our wounds” as well. While we are excited to be “there” we have many memories here and will always be a special place in our lives!

  34. Keshet

    Oh Katie, this is beautiful.

  35. What a beautiful and inspiring post! I’m so happy and glad that you have made it. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I am starting my last semester of grad school. Yesterday in church they said a prayer for the students and I cried through the whole thing because I just don’t know if I can make it. This gives me hope….I am almost there.

  36. Congrats!! I’m so excited for you guys πŸ™‚ My husband and I are still trying to figure out where “there” is for us, and when we will go there. We just know that “here” is temporary, knowing we’ll get there one day… I guess we are still “almost there”!

  37. Ann G-B

    Crying at my desk………… Awwwwwwwwww!

  38. made me tear a little! congrats to you both! i feel like this mantra is something my husband and i say too often!

  39. I’m so happy that you were finally able to write this post — if ever there was a couple and a family that deserved to “make it,” it is you guys. You have weathered some incredible storms in your time together and I, even though I only “know” you through your blog, am so proud of you both for never letting the tough stuff beat you. Y’all are inspiring, Katie and Chris! And this is just what I needed to hear right now, too — tonight is my orientation for my first year in grad school and I am right in the middle of planning my wedding… and I’ve been feeling just a tad overwhelmed. Thank you for reminding me that there IS an eventual light at the end of the tunnel. Much love and blessings to you all!

  40. This brings me hope. I want to be back by my family so badly. It’s quite depressing. My husband would rather stay with his job. Any tips on talking through this? It always ends in a big fight with us.

  41. Annalee

    Wow Katie, this post was absolutely beautiful! It was filled with so much hope, I loved it πŸ™‚ You and Chris are such amazing role models for all couples out there going through hard times or transitions. Thank you again for sharing with us!

  42. Great post. It’s so true that life is a journey complete with good and bad and waiting for something better. I’m so glad that you “arrived”! I also can’t believe I’ve been reading your blog for so long that I now feel like I’m on the journey with you. Thanks for sharing so much of your life – you are a beautiful person.

  43. “Every minor milestone Bean experienced in his first nine months of life made me wince a bit on the inside because there was no family around to share in that excitement with us..” — I have trouble understanding this. My husband would love for us to be surrounded with his family and I just would rather run as far away as possible from my family’s critical nature and overbearing ways. I find no value in being near my family.. I thrive the further away I am. There are moments few and far between that I miss but… I quickly get over it. I hope… that I can create the type of family home that my children would long to come and run to when they are grown and have their own children.. …
    Thank you for the awesome post.

  44. Whitney

    Oh Katie, I only know you through what you share on your blog and I just absolutely adore you. I can always count on you for telling it as it is. You have a beautiful family and I am so happy for you.

  45. Bronwen

    Thank you for this. We have just moved to the US from Canada and I know it will be a challenge over the next few months. I’ve bookmarked this post and I know I will go back to it. And I am so glad your depression is better. I know the feeling of fear that just doesn’t go away. I had a very severe depressive episode earlier this year and I am still climbing the last few steps out of that deep hole. My husband told me, in the middle of the worst week of my life (drug side effects had stopped time for me, I had no attention span whatsoever and was pacing constantly the whole time I was awake – it’s called akithesia) that soon, this week would be over, and there would be hundreds and hundreds of happy weeks to come. I promised myself that I would remember that when the good times did come, and I was able to tell my dear ones at our wedding that the happy weeks had finally begun. I am glad yours are here as well.

  46. Melissa W.

    Soo loved this post!! Made me tear up… We are going into a season of change for our family that I am sooo not looking forward to, but like u said – that’s life. So I will try to keep my head up like u and remember this post! Thank u!

  47. Such a perfect sentiment – and I love how it’s followed you all the years of your marriage.

    Now I only wish a fortune cookie writer could stumble on this post and see just how meaningful his work is.

    Except for the ones that reference travel. Those fortunes suck.

  48. This very well may be one of my favorite posts ever. You are such an inspiration to me, and this post definitely made me tear up. I am so happy for you and Chris. Thank you for sharing with us!

  49. Nikki

    What a wonderful post! I needed this today, thank you. Even though I have never met you, you have had an impact on my life. I see the way that you try to positively overcome obstacles in your life, and I try to imitate that. It doesn’t always work for me, but I think that the fact that I’m trying is a point in the right direction.

  50. such a beautiful post! brought tears to my eyes. I needed this reminder today!

  51. Adrianne

    Absolutely Awesome! Brought tears to my eyes, as my husband and I are about to embark on a new journey and I think I can see the light at the end of our very long, dark tunnel. Maybe we are almost there! Thank you so much for posting this and sharing your life!

  52. What a beautiful post! I definitely have tears in my eyes. It helps to know that everyone goes through tough times in the effort to “get there.” We’re not where we want to be right now, but it WILL happen someday. Your posts are wonderful, Katie! πŸ™‚

  53. Rachel

    We have a similar phrase “Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.” that we heard on TV when we were going through a hurricane in Hawaii 2 days before our wedding. We had flown from ND to get married in Hawaii, and had to get thru a hurricane first! Anyway, we have said that phrase to each other (and recently to our kids in regards to athetic tryouts, haha) many times over the past 19 years. (Well, our anniversary is Sept 13, so almost 19 years). All the talk about Hurricane Irene is bringing back memories of Hurricane Iniki (Hawaii 1992). Most of the people from ND don’t understand the hurricane thing, but I do! =)

  54. Julienne

    Aww… this post brought tears to my eyes (argh! hate crying at work).. so happy for you.

  55. Either that was one helluva story or I’m a bit hormonal, but I too got a tad teary eyed. You’re there!

  56. I think you like making me cry. Really. This post was incredibly sweet…here’s to the end of one journey and the beginning of a whole new one!

  57. Kimberly

    I love the first photo of you and Chris, when you are pregnant with Bean. The look in his eyes tells so much about how he loves you. You have a truly beautiful family, and you are an amazing wife and mother. And you are gorgeous, to boot. πŸ™‚

  58. Lydia

    Thank you for this post. It’s crazy but I may have posted this before but I just had a baby boy in June, I have a 2 year old, and we moved to a new house in a new state. I completely know what you mean by being there. I feel like we are there in our new house. This was such an encouraging post. Thank you.

  59. Aw! It may be the pregnancy hormones here, but that made me tear up. So happy for you guys! It’s so amazing that you’re finally “there.’ You deserve it!

  60. Lucia

    Beautiful Katie!! Thanks for reminding me that we will get ‘there’ soon!

  61. Amazing. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  62. jenny-bird

    You and Chris have come so far! A wise friend once said there is no road to happiness. Happiness IS the road. Stay strong Katie!

  63. What a great piece of writing. Simply some of the best Marriage Confessions has to offer. You two are so inspiring together.

  64. Wow, what beautiful post. A great reminder to keep focusing on the positive, something that gets lost often. I’m so happy for you and your family. Seems like you’re right where you should be now. Can’t wait to watch you guys grow….uh some more I guess.

  65. Sara

    Beautifuland moving post. I agree with Lucia….I pray we will all get ‘there’ soon.

  66. What a beautiful, moving post. I was in tears by the end of it. As someone who has moved around a lot in the last few years, suffered from depression, and just bought a house, I can relate to this post all too well.

  67. Jessica G.

    Beautiful πŸ™‚ My husband and I are almost married a year and are still in a small apartment, just got a new puppy and I am currently miserable at my job and trying to find a new – which has been a huge weight on my shoulders and often stresses me out. I look forward to the day were we ‘are there’…in a house, with kids and solid jobs. It may be a long rocky road ahead of us, but it’s well worth it. I’m so happy for you and your family that you have made it and can enjoy the next chapers in your life πŸ™‚

  68. You are a brave woman for sharing your journey. Thank you for your blog, for sharing your life, and for showing people like me that we are not alone. I don’t know you in “real life” but I feel like we are friends anyway.

  69. Hooray! This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your family, and praise God for all the good work He’s done–and that you’ve allowed Him to do–in your life.

  70. That’s a beautiful post! You guys have had quite a journey!

  71. Nikki

    I’m reposting today because I thought of you last night. We had chinese and I got this great fortune about taking time to give back. I immediately thought of you post and wanted to keep it as a reminder. I come back to the table after going upstairs for something, and J threw it away with other stinky garbage. Maybe the next one will be a keeper!

  72. Rachel B

    Oh, Katie! This was such a wonderful post! I am just so happy for y’all, and I don’t even know you! Welcome home!

  73. Wow—I don’t know what else to say, other than what a fabulous post!

  74. MrsS

    Loved this entry x

  75. It’s been a rough year for us. I’m trying to keep the faith that we too will get “there” but it has been really hard. You and Chris give me hope. Thank you.

  76. Maggie

    This was one of the most beautiful posts I’ve read. But remember: life is not a destination, but a journey-you were always there. =]

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