Reinventing how to live for our family in a new town is a task for which I have extensive experience. It’s not that I often wake up on a perfectly good day and think; I have an idea, let’s pack up and start over in a new city far away. It’s more like, Craig comes home one day and says, “hey, how does Phoenix sound to you?, or Connecticut? Or Wales? Or Houston? And in this case, “How does San Antonio sound to you?
I actually have a flinch reaction when he begins a question with “how does….” Because it always accompanies a carefully controlled and prepared frame of mind spread all over his face that looks like serious business to me which is not usually the nature of our relationship unless he is about to say “how does….”
Reinventing our life has always been an interesting puzzle to solve. For all those students out there who have ever complained that they will never have to use the algebra or calculus they are forced to learn in school I can confidently say moving a family of seven toting a doggy, kitty and newly initiated “older sister I never had” (whitney) is as close to doing complicated scientific equations as life could offer.
Never mind every family member wants this or that feature or opportunity. It starts with where daddy works and where are the schools which meet my standard. And then I look at what the city has to offer, what makes it unique, what to avoid (traffic), and usually that narrows down my search but not always.
As we have moved ten times before this one Craig and I make a small pact: he gets the job, I get the house, meaning, he will be happy because he got the job and the house needs to make me happy. This always translates; we spend a lot more on the house than his frugal ways would like to do. After all, I’m the one who is there ALL the time. (And he is the one making me move) So in the past when we consider our next house we make a list of all the things we don’t have in the current one and hope for in the next one and they are usually upgrades, and we usually have another person join the family that needs more space.
When we moved to Houston, we pulled the plug and went for it all and found it was too much in every way possible and it never felt like our home that matched who we really are, which is a lot more casual than the house appears to be. We also found out just because you can have it doesn’t always mean you should get it. Whew, that’s a big lesson. I had to put so much of my time and energy into that house, and Craig might add money, to keep it going that we soon felt too ‘spent’ to pursue other passions that we might rather apply our resources towards.
So for this house hunt, I’m going backwards. Less really is more.
I arrived in San Antonio yesterday after being up all night looking at listings and dreaming about living in the part of the city that is old and established so I could walk to all the stores, and bicycle my errands, and feel the heartbeat of San Antonio every time I stepped out of my front door. I was beside myself with giddy excitement to live in the Alamo Heights area, and I was quite sure I had found my place there. But when I saw all the homes in that area, including the one I thought I would love, I had to admit it was too much work to try and convince everyone else that the huge downgrade in home was worth living in the village setting of Alamo Heights. (Oh I want that soooo bad, but the key word is “I” ) We looked at an ok home on a street where Tommy Lee Jones lives! I love that guy. I wanted to bump into him on my bicycle and say, “the fugitive went that way”.
Well after we looked at everything in Alamo Heights I wasn’t totally satisfied because the equation is bigger than just my list. Everyone has a subset to factor in and I knew I wasn’t at the stage in life where I could have the conveniences of Alamo Heights because the children need the neighborhood with friends, security, and space to live in comfortably. So as soon as we drove ten minutes up 281 and nearly into the back yard of Craig’s office to a neighborhood which would exactly suit the upcoming needs of Jack and Kira who will spend the most amount of time living there… I knew I wouldn’t have my hopes fulfilled. But I would make my children very happy.
I slumped onto the bed of a perfect house and looked at my realtor and said,” I lose”. This is the place my family needs. It had everything for everyone, including a cute cottage in the backyard. (and Craig was so happy about the price that I know he’s actually dancing around the big house at home like he would stir a pot with both hands and sway his bottom back and forth.) I am probably going to put in an offer on it today. And I’ll dream of driving down to Alamo heights with my bike on the back and then tool around the area as if I lived there, that way I can still bump into Tommy Lee Jones and give him the message. And here’s the really good part, I have a lot of peace with all the compromises. I just knew for sure God had whispered, this is the one I have for you, trust me, you’ll like it. Ok. I really trust those whispers.
So do you know what I did this morning? I hired a young Ugandan woman to work full time for us there so I can accomplish more for the children in the orphanage! And that is truly where my passion gets applied. By downsizing our life, we are up scaling our ministry! So look out big things are going to happen. That’s worth doing the happy dance. And by the way…I’m going to go shopping since I just saved my husband a load of money, I think I’ll find a reward in some antique store in Boerne. And I will look at it and think, that was the day I solved a seriously complicated equation and got an A+.
( I didn’t take a single photo yesterday! I was overwhelmed with the fifteen properties I looked at…I’ll post some pictures tonight)