Thursday, February 22, 2007

And then … there was peace.

Even though I’ve been thinking and praying about a potential move, across the country – or – recently, across the street for several weeks, there is finally peace in my heart. I can’t pinpoint exactly how we ultimately arrived at our decision, but I have a several theories:

Maybe it was realizing that I don’t need to move 3,000 miles to be with my family, I’m already with them. They are my husband and three – soon to be four - children. And dog.

Maybe it was everything that would be involved with selling our house and moving, when I am pregnant and getting bigger everyday. Especially my hips, thighs and butt.

Maybe it was the thought of trying to keep tabs and chasing three – soon to be four – small children through a larger (possibly two-story) house, which would need to be thoroughly baby-proofed.

Maybe it was the thought of cleaning up after three – soon to be four – small children in a larger (possibly two-story) house.

Maybe it was acknowledging the sense of safety I feel when I can see and/or hear all three of our children from every room in the house – and only have to deal with one baby gate.

Maybe it was the thought of taking on a larger mortgage payment every month … before I am due to deliver another baby … and scheduled to take several months off of work for maternity leave.

Maybe it was reminding ourselves of the incredible situation that we have been blessed with – that allows us to affordably live in an absolutely gorgeous part of the world … in a lovely home … work part-time … and raise our small children without relying on daycare, nannies, or family.

Maybe it was realizing that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate our exact work situation - any where else in the country.

Maybe it was taking our children to the San Diego Zoo, again, earlier this week – when the temperature was 75 degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the entire sky and I had to remind myself that this was February.

Maybe it was the numerous phone calls I received from my siblings that were buried under several feet of snow in New England, when they asked me if we moved – where would they go for spring break?!

Maybe it was thinking about how much we love the upgrades and improvements we’ve already made to our home - and how gorgeous hardwood floors with 3-inch baseboards would look - and how that is something we’ve always wanted to do (And I have since scheduled. They start in two weeks).

Maybe it was realizing that the master bedroom in the new house, would be smaller than what we have in our house, currently. And – there is absolutely no wall space for our new television.

Maybe it was the realization that we do not want to be strapped to a mortgage payment just before I go on maternity leave. Even though 600 additional square feet – in the form of a larger eating area in the kitchen, two extra bedrooms, a three car garage, four extra closets and another bathroom would be convenient.

Maybe it was the knowledge that the house across the street is not our dream home. Although it is nice, it is definitely not what we have in our mind’s eye for where we want our family to be 10 or even, 20-years from now. We want to live someplace where we can put a basketball hoop on the garage - and maybe, when the kids are old enough to swim, install a pool in the backyard. Even if we don’t do those things … we at least want to reserve the right to entertain the thoughts.

Maybe it was the discussion I had with one of our neighbors Monday afternoon, when she told me that she has been going to Mexico once a quarter and bringing food, clothing and miscellaneous supplies for migrant workers. She relayed how so many people live in the worst poverty imaginable – but yet – they are raising children. Children who are smiling and happy and extremely thankful for everything that they have. What an incredible reminder for me to COUNT MY BLESSINGS.

Maybe it was the impromptu prayer that my next door neighbor, Sydney - a deeply soulful woman, had with me standing in the middle of our driveway before I took the kids and dog for a walk Tuesday morning.

Maybe it was call I received from my mother Tuesday afternoon, while she was in Florida – three hours ahead of me in California - where she told me that I had to watch Oprah that afternoon. (If you recall, my mother is the greatest Oprah fan in the entire universe.)

Maybe it was the Oprah show I watched about the beauty of living in small spaces – and hearing testimony from Jay … a guy who lives in a 96 square foot house. When he asked “How much do we REALLY need?” it got me thinking. This man has absolutely everything he needs to survive and live a happy life. Although I’m not prepared to start using a compost toilet or buying a house I can tow around with a truck, like Jay does, I think the guy’s got a good point.

How much do we really need???

At this point in our lives: Do we need for our three (almost four) small children to have walk-in closets in their bedrooms … when all of their clothes can fit in 6 drawers?

Although I do recycle everything I can, I’m not obsessively “green”. But when you hear about Americans quest for bigger, bigger, bigger … cars, homes, televisions … it’s easy to see how people can confuse what “I WANT” versus what "I NEED".

Do we need to have a sprawling dining room when we already have a cozy dining room that comfortably sits anyone who comes to dinner, now?

Do I need to have a whole separate home office, when my company pays for a small executive suite 10 minutes from my house … or, I can work from the dining room table on the days I want to stay home?

Do we need to increase the financial stress on ourselves just so we can have a separate guest room … when in a few short weeks, we’ll have a new pull out sofa in our living room?

Does Baby Nemo need to have his own bedroom, when he can sleep with us for the first several months, and gradually, be transitioned to sleeping in the same room with his big brother, William?

Can’t we make the kid’s rooms really cool – and space efficient – with trundle beds and bunk beds, when they are older? Can’t I funnel all of the money that we would be spending on a larger mortgage payment directly in to Pottery Barn Kids?

We will move one day. In the meantime, we need to do a better job organizing our stuff and getting rid of things that we no longer need. We need to make a more concerted effort to keep the house picked up – because once it gets cluttered – it feels 10 times smaller than it really is. We need to extend more invitations to our family and friends from afar to come and visit so that we don’t feel as isolated, and then – maybe - we’ll need to set our tent up in the backyard for additional sleeping space if they all come at once. Thankfully, the weather is always nice.

Most importantly, we need to live one day at a time, because only God knows what’s in store for us.

But I think that these are all things that we can do.

The past few weeks have been very trying, emotionally and physically. I’m convinced that the house across the street was literally placed before us – to challenge what our priorities are, right now. If we purchased the house, it would not have been a wrong decision. But I believe that the decision we have made is a better one at this point in time. And with a decision, comes a sense of peace and calmness.

At least for now.

If there is one thing I am experiencing with this pregnancy more than ever with the triplets, it is a daily emotional rollercoaster. Stay tuned. I’m absolutely certain something new will set me off, tomorrow.

13 comments:

  1. And it all sounds so practical. That's definitely a good outlook to have. Maybe you have everything you could possibly want right there.

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  2. Great post!

    I watched that Oprah about living in small spaces, too, and it made me re-evaluate the way I think I NEED more space.

    It's just me, my husband and our dogs and we have a 4-bedroom house!! But we love it.

    Glad you've found some peace - even if it's for a day!

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  3. Good for you. I am glad you have found some peace. Now, don't second guess yourself. I admire your willingness to live with less than what you can afford. It is a rare quality and something we are trying to teach our children. I often find myself saying to them "just because we can afford it, doesn't mean we will be buying it."

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  4. I can the hear your relief in your words.
    CONGRATULATIONS on your decision.
    Welome home!
    Linda (Chicago)

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  5. So happy to hear that you made a decision! A very good decision, indeed! You're right!!! You guys have a beautiful home and gorgeous view!

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  6. Dear Jenn
    Congratulations on making the right decision for your family. Your words show how peaceful you feel.

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  7. I too can hear your relief Jenna. Another inspiring blog entry . . . it can be applied to so many aspects of life. Thanks for sharing it . .

    Yours in tripletness,

    Jessica

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  8. MichelleinOR2/22/07, 7:39 PM

    Congratulations at arriving at a peaceful decision. You inlcluded some really useful advice in this post -- like always. I really admire how grateful you are for what you have. That is a rare attitude. I really benefited from reading this.

    MichelleinOR

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  9. sounds so well thought out that I'm sure this will work out well for you. have fun with all the money you saved!

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  10. Practical is good. Good good good. So happy you are content with your decision...for now, at least.

    *Goes off to silently pray that you don't really name Baby #4 Nemo.*

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  11. I am so glad that you finally have some peace with all of this! It always feels good to get those decisions made!
    Nicole

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  12. You sound so much AT PEACE with this. A huge weight off your shoulders.
    FTR, I think you made the right choice.

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  13. Glad you guys made a decision.

    It's so funny because I saw the Oprah show the other day about the living in small spaces too and it totally made me appriciate my 1700sq ft house! And I only have 1 child! We are like you too and enjoy are nice and smaller mortgage payment too. Just think about paying for college for 4 kids and that will make you want to save.

    Hope you can sleep better at night now that a decision is made.

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