Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Crossroads . . . ?
I've grown up in the suburbs. An area that I watched change from farms to a very busy suburb. But it's never been rural, really - as long as I've lived here.
My aunt and uncle and cousins live on a farm a few hours from us. I always loved going there. It was all so wonderful and exciting and different. I think their house is where my love and fascination of farmhouses came from. It was really an orchard, not an animal farm. Though there were ponies and peacocks. I was always in awe of those peacocks.
A red house, atop a dirt/gravel road. Tire swing in the front yard. I just loved it. I loved the land. I loved the smell. They lived only a few minutes outside a busy city, but it felt like a whole different world. And I never remember them, or us, ever being bored there. There was always something to find. Something to do.
But I always came home. To my little neighborhood. Where I could ride my bike with my friends. I would run out, dollar in hand every time I heard that familiar jingle of the ice cream truck.
I liked growing up there. I liked being close to the ever growing stores and restaurants and conveniences. I liked going to a high school with several thousand people.
Since I've been living on my own, I've moved several times, but I never left this town. My oldest son has been to 3 schools. He's 10. I alleviate my guilt about that by telling myself that at least we've stayed in the same district.
Where we live now isn't so bad. It's a little busy. We're about 5 minutes from a very developed road. But that means every store I could need 5 minutes away. We're in a small neighborhood, but bordering a couple larger ones, including the one I grew up in. Several mornings a week I go to these neighborhoods for a run. Almost every morning after the kids get on the bus, the husband and I bring our coffee and go for a walk in those neighborhoods. We can walk to the kids school.
We just moved here last year, and are renting from a family friend. My parents live about 20 minutes away. The husbands parents live about 5 minutes away.
There are some things I don't love. Like our postage stamp yard. The actual neighborhood where we live. And the fact that the woman who owns our house, wants to move back in next July. So no matter what, we have to be out by July 2010 the latest.
Almost every morning on our walks I complain about how I feel like I don't belong here anymore. Like it's become too stifling. There is no room to live and breathe and grow. And then I go on about my romanticized love affair with the country. And farms. And houses with big front porches and views.
Well, two days ago we were offered something amazing. I mean, once in a lifetime kind of amazing. This lovely couple we know wants us to have their house. Kind of. They are moving in with her mother soon (she's ill) and once she passes, they are moving to their vacation home full time. They are getting ready to put their current house on the market. This is a house that they raised their family in. A house they rebuilt themselves. They love it, but it's time for them to let it go.
For some reason, they really like us. And they asked if we would like to live in that house for the same (ridiculously low) rent that we pay now. And then when my husband is done with school in a year or so, we can buy it. For 40,000 less than the appraised price.
We're going to look at it this weekend. It's only maybe a half hour away. But it's pretty much a world away.
It's in the county. I mean, farms for neighbors. It has a cellar. A front porch with a view. It backs up to forever wild woods. It's really the deal of a lifetime.
But it means giving up the thrill of searching for our own house. It means asking my kids to give up afternoons playing with their friends until the sun is setting. It means asking them to give up riding bikes after school. Giving up chasing the ice-cream man. Giving up evening walks. Giving up their school we just moved to, the friends they just made and starting all over. Again.
It means going from a VERY large school district, to a VERY (very!) small one.
But it also means a different life. A slower one. It means bonfires. And big gardens. Fruit trees. A tire swing.
Then again, it also means now living almost an hour from my parents. A half hour from the in laws. No more quick trips to grandma and grandpas. No more last minute overnight babysitters. No more lingering over dinner and drinking wine till 10pm with our parents. It also means moving from my sister, the goddess of last minute babysitting help. And moving from our friends. Visits from and to them won't be as spontaneous. They'll have to be planned. We'll lose some time together, I think.
I'm so torn. It's kind of what I've wanted, for a long time. It's an amazing opportunity. But now that I'm looking at it, for real and not sometime in the future, but NOW- I'm apprehensive. I suddenly appreciate where I've lived my whole life. I've kind of found a new little love for it. I'm a little uncertain. And sad to give up what we have.
But I've never been good at change. This could be a good one. It will be different. Our lives will be different. But it could be good. Sometimes I feel like we are spinning out of control here. Maybe we could all use this.