It's hard for me to describe precisely the mixed feelings I have looking outside and seeing the for sale sign in my front yard. I am so proud of myself for getting the house ready and looking perfect. For decluttering and doing the updates that our agent and stager said were most important. But we have never wanted to leave this house. If we could pick it up and drive it to Warren and plop it down on a nice lot in the neighborhood that we want to live in, we would be thrilled. But that can't happen. So it is also with sadness and regret that we put up that sign.
We have been living in that place of sadness and regret for the past 24 hours. When the realtors from our agent's office walked through and our agent took the photos for the web it all kind of smacked us in the head. As hard as it is for me and Josh to wrap our heads around moving... this place has been the backdrop to most of our marriage, the bad (which is too personal to go into, of course), the good (almost every other moment) and the amazing (the birth of Zoë comes to mind) While it is nearly impossible for me to imagine *not* living here -- and I have a pretty good imagination -- it is actually impossible for the girls to imagine living somewhere else and they are basically in a state of low grade anxiety to full out panic all the time.
It is real to them now, or as real as something can be when you are 4 or almost 2. We've been up to our neck in unpleasant and regressive behavior for the past few days and Mommy and Daddy are tired. We are trying to find a place of calm to honor our own sadness about leaving this place that has been so special to us and at the same time digging deep for the compassion required to manage these unpleasant behaviors.
It makes me think a lot about stress and how we all -- young and old -- handle tough situations. The more I think about parenting, the nitty gritty unpleasant stuff, tantrums, sleep training, potty training, all of the difficulties that we parents have to deal with the more I see grown ups having the same issues. Violent behavior, massive debt, marriage equality, all of these are starting to look like toddler tantrums to me -- We talk about our kids growing out of these things but I don't think we do. I see adults having temper tantrums all the time!
People talk about children being mirrors of their parents and if there is one thing that I've learned about myself being a mother is that I have a crappy temper and that I have temper tantrums all the time. Under normal circumstances I handle them pretty well but when under the stress of parenting -- not so much. In trying to teach the girls how to manage the day to day suck that we can encounter (no you can't have that new toy, yes you have to share with your sister, no you have to wear pants,etc... ) I have had to learn to actually manage the day to day suck that we all encounter (no you can't have that new toy, yes the first amendment is for everyone not just the people you agree with, no you have to wear pants, etc...) It's not about suppressing the strong emotions, because really, look where that is getting us as adults. It's about understanding where those emotions are coming from and either working through them or letting them go because they're stupid/irrational. One result of Clara asking me "Why?" all the time is I have to think about the whys and often they just don't exist.
We are all trying to manage the difficult (and often contradictory) feelings we have right now. Which is to say there is also great excitement about our next step -- which may also include some construction. oy. It's too soon to really talk about yet, and there are many decisions that need to be made. But as sad as we are about leaving here, there is a lot of excitement about going there. In the meanwhile if you know anyone who's looking for a sweet house in a great neighborhood email me and I'll send you the link to our listing. I still can't believe my house is this clean.