Wednesday, April 02, 2008
We have friends who are house hunting in this very buyer-friendly market. Not only is the market on their side, but they also have the financial support of family, as well as large monetary gifts from their recent wedding - all to put down toward their first home. All of this is wonderful.

They looked at a large home in a neighborhood the next town over from ours - at our urging (move closer, please!) - and then stopped by to visit with us and the kids before driving the half an hour back to their small apartment. And as we sat around chatting with them about atrocious houses and what they're looking for, what they're willing to spend (versus, what they've been "pre-approved" for), etc.

They are good people, some of our best friends, and I'm so happy for them. But, I'm also human, and can't help but have the fleeting moments of envy at their incredible, unbelievable, good fortune. To be buying in this sort of market (as opposed to when we packed up and moved north to simply afford a teeny-condo over the border), to not have to worry about finances too much (both working full time and also enjoying that cushion of wedding loot), to have the time and energy and funds to devote time to getting their house (whatever one they choose) up into their ideal shape - before having children.

They're looking big. Big yard, finished basements, giant garages. The works. Meanwhile, they sat describing this to us in our 1250 square foot, ranch style home that was built on the rails where a mobile trailer once sat. We are not big. We are not flashy. We do not even have hallways to speak of, more like rooms that just branch off of one another. Our driveway does fit two cars and we do have a deck and a good sized shed, but our neighbors are both trailers. Our neighborhood is entirely mobile. The epitome of low-class, low budget, low, low, low.

I sank into the lowness of it all last night as I slept. I can't remember my dreams exactly, but I know that I woke up this morning feeling lower than I had before their visit last night. I was unsatisfied and bitter and thinking well, we could afford a larger house if we were both working too. And we're only here because the market was so terrible when we needed to buy a place...

And then I reached into the refrigerator to offer my kids yogurts after their waffles. We had a plethora of strawberry, but only one blueberry left. I gave my son the choice between the two and he chose blueberry.

He is now down for an early nap, because as soon as he saw his sister licking the pink strawberry yogurt off of her spoon, he woefully regretted his decision and began to whine for a strawberry cup of his own - even though any other day of the week, blueberry is great, blueberry is his first choice. Blueberry is grand.

As I explained to him that he made his choice, that it was a good one and that there's plenty of strawberry for tomorrow or the next day, I heard my own words come back to myself. Be thankful for what you do have, don't whine for what you don't. I told him.

Of course, he's only three and the whining and whimpering and fretting over every goopy spoonful that his sister loaded into her mouth of that precious, delicious, most amazing yogurt ever - continued and escalated. So, he's down for a nap to settle down and think about thankfulness and what it means to appreciate what we're given.

Now, I'm left sitting here, imagining my life without him. What my life would be had my husband and I waited five or six years into our marriage to have children. What if we had decided to go for the big house ourselves. (And what if we had, and in order to keep it after having children, I would've had to relinquish them to someone else's care five days of the week, and spend my time in an office and on a commute and working for someone other than my family?)

And I realize that these questions are just as silly as my son clamoring for something other than the blueberry he loves any other day of the week.

I've been given more than what I need. I've been given things, people, that I love. And I need to listen to my own motherly advice. Either that, or take a nap.

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Blogger nomad said...

I have been reading about your life for about a year...popping in every now and then and reading about your creativity and your young family and feeling a titch of a similar jealousy that you felt for your friend. Happy for you, but a little jealous too.

Your latest entry prompts me to make myself known.

I am a mother too. I have four children, and my first baby is turning 18 in a few weeks. EIGHTEEN! I mean, really, I thought I was still 18, how is that possible?

You bring me back (in my mind) to busy days and simpler times.

You are an inspiring and lovely woman.

Thanks for blogging.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, touching entry. "Blueberry" -- it's advice I need to listen to as well. I'm so glad I read this today.

I agree with the above commenter: you are lovely and inspiring.

Blogger Mella said...

Hi Nomad, thank you so much for coming out and commenting. I can imagine how busy your life must be with four children - and to have one that has reached 18!

I worry that my mine won't reach five, the way they dive over chairs and sprint into every dangerous situation possible. Raising a child to 18 is truly an accomplishment, in my mind.

And speaking of 18 - I know that I'll be there in what seems like the blink of an eye, wondering the very same thing. Everyone always told me that it would happen - time would fly and children would grow faster than we could've imagined - but I never really believed them, until we had our own.

And, Nova, you're so sweet. Thanks!

Blogger Susanna Rose said...

You know I totally relate with your story! More power to the us for being able to make it living in small spaces with 2 (or almost on my part;) kiddos! Any real house one day will feel like a palace and we'll never take it for granted!:)

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