The spring before I got pregnant with Sydney, Jason decided (along with my input) to enlist in the Coast Guard Reserves. He had all the paperwork filled out, had passed the necessary tests, had the support of his family, friends, and students.
A last minute eye-exam revealed that he is red/green color blind. He knew this, but never thinks of it as an issue. The military told him he could never be an officer because of his 'handicap.'
He didn't enlist.
When he went back to school the next fall everyone wanted to know how boot camp was.
Just over a year before Jules was born I was pregnant and starting my new teaching job. Even though we had told our parents about the pregnancy (with some reserves since I had an idea not everything was quite right), we weren't telling too many people.
I decided to tell my students about my pregnancy on the first day of class.
A week later I was getting ready to leave for class when I miscarried the baby. I canceled class for that day, and I had to tell my students the news when I went back to teach the next day.
A year and a half ago, my parents told us they were giving us land for us to build on. We got a general contractor, hired a designer, filled out pages of paperwork, sold our house. We lived in an apartment for nine months, all the while telling ourselves that the year's difficulties would be worth it in the end. People asked us almost daily when we were going to start building, and we'd hedge with uncertainty.
The economy crashed. Teaching jobs looks scarce.
We decided Jason isn't going to keep his job more than 60 miles away from where we're living.
New jobs don't look promising.
We decide not to build this year. Maybe next year.
At a bridal shower last weekend someone asked me how the house construction was coming along.
One of the things Jason and I struggle with is when to tell people what's going on with our life. We don't want to be the folks who cry "EVENT!" at every turn and then everything falls apart. When do we tell others about the decisions we've made or events that are about to occur, and when do we wait silently, waiting for things to become more certain?
I don't have the answer because the truth is the bottom can always fall out, leaving you feeling foolish. Of course, even if you feel completely certain, things happen beyond our control. A small handicap, a mysterious health issue, a volatile economy...it happens, and it is what it is.
We aren't building our house. This dream that we've spent money on, moved our life for, postponed a pregnancy for, divided our family between two different homes for--it's not happening for awhile. A long enough while that I'm not talking about it anymore. I'm not thinking about it anymore. Don't ask me when we're building. I don't know.
The whole thing is very understanding. Everyone tells us that. It's the smart move to make, they say. I don't know if that makes me feel better or not. I wanted to be the one whose dream succeeded despite the odds, but instead my story is just like everyone else's. Economy crashed. Dreams put on hold.
Except not quite.
We didn't lose our house; we sold it and made a profit.
He didn't lose his job; he quit it so that we could live together as a family.
We aren't searching for a place to live; we're living in my grandma's former house, on the Family Farm, rent free.
Which is why, here at the end of the day, I'm not disappointed anymore about not building. In fact, once I made the decision to not build, I physically felt better. I'm relieved. So relieved. Utterly and completely relieved. Finally something is certain: we're here. We can unpack our boxes, paint the walls, set up residency and start life. No more living on hold; no more waiting. When I told our loan officer today to cancel our loan, she said, "I won't cancel your loan. Your loan will just be in suspension, waiting for you when you're ready."
I laughed and thought, "That's exactly what I'm not. I'm not in suspension. I'm not wondering, wandering, holding my breath, hanging in mid-air, suspended from doing something. I'm moving forward. I'm running forward. I'm loudly stomping my feet forward."
All this time my goal has been to build the house, but sometime this weekend I realized that living on the Family Farm--next to all my family--was really the goal. And just as soon as Jason is done with school, he'll be up here and we'll be all together. Living under one roof; living on the Family Farm.
A month ago I felt foolish about having told so many people about our dream house, knowing that I'd have to explain what went wrong. A month ago I refused to say we weren't building. Come hell or highwater was my motto. We were building, and no one was going to stop me. Then something fell away...my pride? my ego? my senseless determination? my expectations? Whatever it was I realized that it didn't make me a fool to make the decision not to build. We weren't fools for selling our house, for living in an apartment, and enduring this craptastic year of indecision. We made a choice to move, and the end result looks a little different than we thought, but it is what it is.
For the first time in almost a year, I feel good about the future. I'm not nervous, I'm not stressed, I'm not wondering what The Reason was behind all this. The reasons don't matter. I'm not sure there are any reasons. Who cares about the reasons. Life happens. That's reason enough.
I've spent the first six months of 2009 stressed out of my mind. I'm spending the next six months doing exactly the opposite.
Yes, indeed, exactly the opposite sounds absolutely perfect.