Last week Ryan went out of town for work. He was only gone for one night and came home late the next day, after kid bedtime. But when the cat is away, the mice will play, as they say, and while my sweet, loving, hard-working husband was freezing his buns off working outside all day in the unseasonably cold weather, just trying to earn us a decent living and some health insurance, I was sitting in our comfortable living room engaged in the most treacherous act of betrayal.
I was browsing real estate online.
It started innocently enough, with a joke on Facebook that if Ryan didn't come home soon I was going to find a five bedroom house for us so I could lock everyone in their own cells at night instead of listening to the frat party that happens in Charlie and Wes's room every night. I wasn't actually expecting to find anything.
There is a lot we love about our current house. It's a good size, we have a big yard, we live on a quiet street with a culdesac at the end, which gives the kids a ton of freedom outside. I don't know what I would do without that freedom, honestly, their energy level would be completely unmanageable. Both of our commutes are pretty easy and the grocery store is very close by.
There are only two things I would change about our house if I could. Since we are adding a sixth person to the family, I would love to have a second living area. Our current arrangement is working well, but the big kids aren't going to go to bed at 7:30 forever. It might happen that there will be nights when some of us want to read a book and some of us want to watch a movie and some of us want to play a game (DANG that's a lot of "some of us-es"). Or have a friend or two over. Or watch something rated PG, where people can say "hell" and there isn't an NSF-mandated educational component.
The second thing, and this is the biggest thing for me, is that we are twenty-ish minutes from our church. And we are there ALL. THE. TIME.
The kids' preschool is there (2 visits a day, 3 days a week), children's choir is there (dropoff/pickup one time per week), then of course there is Sunday morning, monthly board meetings, social gatherings, family nights, and mom club. And in the future we will add any number of kid activities to that. That's a lot of commuting.
So I looked. And I found a house. It's beautiful. And it's five minutes from church. And it has three living areas. And don't get me started on the counter space. And it's two minutes from my sister's house and twenty minutes closer to my parents.
I texted my sister. "I am in love with a house down the street from yours." She asked me for the MLS. A few minutes later she replied "DO IT!! We have great schools and they're all really close!" She is an enabler.
So I left it up on my computer and mentioned it casually to Ryan, who checked it out and said to me, "It's very nice", before changing the subject. Undeterred by his clear desire for me to LET IT GO, I sent him an email the next day breezily asking him if he'd like me to set up a showing this weekend, just to take a look. He responded almost immediately with "I'm not ready for that." No "Sorry," no "love you, see you at home," no "let's talk about it later." He SHUT IT DOWN.
But I just couldn't make myself close that tab on my browser. And today on my way home from preschool dropoff I drove past The House. It was a mistake, I realize, now that I can't stop thinking about the beautiful live oak tree in the front yard and the long, flat driveway just begging for a basketball goal.
But. I have to stop the madness. Instead of mentally arranging our furniture in the beautiful sun-lit, wood-floored family room, I will think about how nice it will be not to have to get our own house ready to sell. Instead of making passive aggressive comments about how nice it would be to have a shower on the first floor, I will think about how lovely it is to not have to pay two mortgages and stay up all night wondering if our current house will ever sell.
I mean, I think we have enough stressful life events in the offing. Why go seeking out more? Possibly for three living areas and hours of my life not spent in the car, but just think of all the things the kids are learning spending twenty-four hours a day within touching distance of each other. And who can put a price on the ability to carry on a conversation with a kid who is sitting on the potty without ever leaving the stove? So many magical childhood memories.