Friday, January 14, 2011

January 14, 2011 ~ Day 36
Eager S.A.H.M. seeks H (house!)

I can't stop checking Craigslist.

It's bordering on an obsession, as I scan for new homes listed. Even though logically I understand that a new home has probably *not* been listed for rent or sale since I ate lunch about twenty minutes ago, I find myself impatiently checking out the listings yet again.

We've recently decided to make a big move, or at least to be open to making a big move. My husband feels strongly that now is the time to get into the housing market if we can figure out how to make it happen - but the catch is, we can't afford to do it in the community where we currently live. Even a teardown here runs up to a million dollars or more.

Given the inside view I've now had of our neighborhood schools though, backed up by conversations with lots of local residents and even my younger child's preschool teachers, we feel comfortable going forward with a move to a different community. All public schools are suffering gravely right now from the ongoing California budget cuts, but the two neighborhoods we are looking at have enough parent support to essentially make up the fiscal difference. Moving away may even be moving UP as far as education for our children is concerned.

This week I attended three elementary school orientations and there was one school that stood out ~ head and shoulders above the rest. In fact, it was so clear that I telephoned my husband immediately and told him, "Honey, I don't think we have to look any more. This is it."

Even with an outstanding public school in the neighborhood, the move will not be simple. We either have to find the right home for sale or the perfect rental, a decision that will hopefully support our family and keep us thriving for many years to come. Whether it is a rental or our own place, we know we'll be sacrificing about 1000 square feet of living space for the privilege of moving into this new community. The houses there are simply smaller, more like cottages.

On top of that, I learned at the park today that preschools in that neighborhood have waiting lists that are years-long. Years. Apparently I should have considered putting younger son on the waiting list for preschool before he was conceived, rather than calling yesterday for a spontaneous admission. All of this is very different than what I am accustomed to - in our relatively laid-back community you simply apply in January for a spot in the Fall, and usually by March you've been accepted.

I'm also looking around at our house thinking that this is the perfect time to de-clutter everything. I'm already imagining how to sell all of our baby furniture, give away half of the kids clothes to Amvets or the Good Will, and store all of my teaching supplies since I'm not likely to be using them soon at this rate.

My heart is racing and I feel both excited and anxious, like I'm about to run a race.

More deeply, I feel a worry common to all parents. Are we making the right choice? Is this the right neighborhood? Will our children thrive? Will we regret this move when we look back some day? Will this be the best decision of our lives, or perhaps the worst?

It is very hard to leave our present home and community where we have put down deep roots and fallen in love with the lifestyle. I have a handful of incredibly close friends in this neighborhood, people I would do anything for that I am convinced would also do anything for me. I don't want to leave them!

If you haven't figured it out by now (Day 36) I am a traditionalist - a creature of habit - a packrat. I have trouble getting rid of even the least savory of my sons' art projects from preschool because the mere fact of their existence has meaning to me. It is always very hard for me to say goodbye and make changes, unless I have been truly unhappy. I am not truly unhappy here, in fact I have mostly loved living here. It just doesn't appear to be in the cards for us to remain in this community long term. We're rapidly approaching a "No guts, No glory" moment.

These are the opportunities when it is most essential to trust in a plan that is bigger than us, bigger than our family unit or even our dreams. Time to pray that we will be guided into the right home in the right place for the right price, with an adequate preschool option and plenty of things to be optimistic about. I'm also praying that whatever move will bless our family will also bless those around us.

No matter what happens though, I take comfort in knowing that wherever we end up and however it looks, we'll still have each other. I remind the kids that home is wherever the five of us are together in one place. In the end, being together is the only thing which truly matters.

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