Ad Spot

April Jeppson: My first weeks in Albert Lea and overcoming trials

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

When I was pregnant with my second child, my husband received a promotion. This increase in title and pay meant that we had to move from Iowa City to Albert Lea. This would put us closer to our family and cut our drive time in half when we wanted to visit. I was seven months pregnant at the time, so we stayed until the birth of our daughter before we started the moving process.

April Jeppson

The day after Emmalynn was born, my husband was in a car accident coming home from the hospital to visit me. A semi-truck totaled Brian’s car but thankfully no one was hurt. When Emmalynn was a week old we came up to Albert Lea for two days to look at some houses. Our Realtor, Emelie, showed us 26 houses in two days. We were on a time crunch, and she totally came through. There were houses that only Brian saw because I had to stay in the car to nurse.

By the time Emma was 3 weeks old, movers were driving all our earthly possessions to a storage unit. Although we had found a home, there were still people living in it for a few more weeks so off to the hotel we went. We spent a total of four weeks living in various hotel rooms throughout this town. It was my husband, myself, our 2 1/2-year-old son and our month-old daughter sharing the standard two queen hotel room I’m sure you’ve all stayed in. 

I’ll paint you a picture. We are brand new residents of this town. My husband drives to work every day to his new job. He is driving our only vehicle since our other car was totaled just a few weeks prior. I am now essentially trapped in a hotel with two small children. One who wants to run around and play and the other who enjoys crying when all I really want to do is close my eyes and sleep for a moment. 

We made the most of it though. I bought a plastic bowling ball set and we’d bowl down the hotel hallways. When Brian would get home in the afternoon we’d all go swimming and out for dinner. If the weather was nice, I’d take the kids in the stroller and walk to Shopko. I dreamt about walking them to one of the local parks, but not knowing the public bathroom situation and being alone with two small kids in a town I wasn’t familiar with, the anxiety of it all crippled me into spending most days inside until my husband got home. 

So why am I sharing all this? 

Emma just had her 10th birthday this week. Every year on her birthday I think back to when we moved here. A flood of memories pour over me. Although I always try and find the joy in a situation, it was one of the hardest times of my life. I felt so alone and scared and overwhelmed, and we all cried — a lot. 

Those first few months were very isolating and painful. It was a year before we were able to get a second vehicle. Those days required me to grow in order to get through them. The level of compassion and empathy that I have for new moms, new people in town or anyone that feels alone — I don’t think I could have learned it any other way. 

“God uses trials to shape us into the type of people we have to be in order to fully enjoy the future opportunities He has prepared for us.” — Hank Smith

Thinking about all the people I’ve met and things I’ve done, and as I continue to see the opportunities he has in store for my family here in Albert Lea, I’d gladly live in that 200-square-foot room for a month again. Well maybe not gladly, but I’d do it all over again.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.

Cops, Courts & Fires

In police debate at Minnesota Capitol, echoes from past ring anew

Health Updates

World mulls next step as US backs IP waiver on vaccines

News

Walz to issue timeline for lifting all COVID-19 restrictions

News

New men’s clothing and gift store opens downtown

Cops, Courts & Fires

Man who helped burn precinct during Floyd unrest sentenced

News

Public invited to street renaming in honor of Marion Ross

Cops, Courts & Fires

Attempted catalytic converter theft and other reports

News

Facebook board upholds Trump suspension

Cops, Courts & Fires

Chauvin’s lawyer seeks new trial, hearing to impeach verdict

News

Sons of Norway plan meeting

News

NAMI Minnesota offering free mental health classes to public

News

Yearly 4-H recognition banquet recognizes many

News

Tips to avoid online scammers who try to steal your money from sales websites

News

SMART Transit to reinstitute fare collection in July

Health Updates

Biden aims to vaccinate 70% of American adults by July 4

News

Walz plans to announce easing of virus rules on Thursday

Gallery

Albert Lea ninja warriors compete

Cops, Courts & Fires

1 killed, 1 hurt in road rage motorcycle crash

Health Updates

COVID-19 update: Active cases dropping in Freeborn County

News

Commissioners approve reopening of fairgrounds on case-by-case basis

Cops, Courts & Fires

Minneapolis police say missing toddler found safe

News

MN Senate Republicans pass voter ID bill

Cops, Courts & Fires

Chauvin juror defends participation in Washington protest

Cops, Courts & Fires

Vehicle stolen and other reports