Photography by Kathy Tran

Mike and Tiffany Eiff put their newborn baby in his crib and were relieved to see his tiny eyelids flutter shut. The momentary peace was disturbed when a bat flew into the bedroom. Tiffany reluctantly woke the baby while Mike wrangled the bat out of the house.

It was time to move.

The 100-year-old farmhouse in Wisconsin had multiple pest-control issues and problems with the well water. The couple had planned to construct a new house on the property, but they soon realized the challenges of building during a pandemic. They decided to move to Dallas to be closer to Tiffany’s family.

“We couldn’t just sit around,” Mike says. “This is still going, and it is going to be around for a long time. We needed a place where we’d be comfortable spending a lot of time at home.”

They contacted a real estate agent through Facebook, and she sent them listings they could tour via FaceTime. When they began seriously considering a house in Little Forest Hills, they sent Tiffany’s mom to check it out. The Eiffs submitted an offer, and it was accepted before the couple ever saw the house in person.

The couple moved to the neighborhood in August and encountered unexpected challenges furnishing their home. Online shopping seemed like a great idea until the dimensions of the dining room chairs they purchased looked nothing like what they ordered. Plus, many items were backlogged, and their couch took months to arrive.

After moving to Dallas, the Eiffs postponed reuniting with extended family and friends to limit their child’s exposure to other people.

Tiffany’s mom met Parker when he was born in January.

The rest of the family planned on visiting in March but had to cancel travel plans because of the virus. It would be six months before they saw him in person.

“It was hard to know how much to expose him,” Tiffany says. “We stick to places we know are clean and safe, and we still try to keep our distance. We can tell our neighbors are friendly because they wave and say hello when they’re out walking.”

Mike and Tiffany like to get Parker out of the house, but they also spend time at home looking for jobs. Before the pandemic, Mike was involved in the film industry, and Tiffany worked in public relations for the travel and hospitality sectors. The pandemic has devastated both fields and hindered their ability to find employment.

But the couple says there are more opportunities in Dallas, and the time off allows them to spend more time with Parker.

“It’s good in some sense because we know how rare it is to have that ‘leave’ as it were,” Mike says. “We didn’t miss anything. He got to see us every day.”

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