FILED IN: Parenting

The Autumn Wife

I lowered my window, breathed in the brisk autumn air and enjoyed the fact that I was sitting on the passenger side of our minivan, for once. I listened to my children happily trying to out-talk each other, behind me, and I leaned my head a little to the right, inhaled deeply and smiled, as I am instantly rewarded with the scent of pine needles, wet grass and a fireplace burning somewhere close by.

I turned to my husband and pronounced my yearly lament.

“We have GOT to move up here!”

About the same time every year — around late October, or early November — I find myself feeling this way. Tired of the hustle and bustle, the never-ending traffic and tired of our taxes going higher, while the reputations of our local political leaders seem to plummet more and more, every year.

“So, go ahead and get us here!”

My family and friends know that I am pretty good at multi-tasking — living with children, you have to be — but, there are plenty of times when I believe that perhaps mothers (and fathers) were supposed to born with eight arms (and legs) because, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day.

[shakes head and removes watch]

Wishful thinking, I know — especially, if you live in a house that is literally falling down around your knee caps — but, I’ve learned to accept myself as an Imperfect Parent, forgive myself for all my faults and sort of just let things, you know, slide.

“I’ll get working on that, right away!”

With that said, my husband has been married to me long enough to know that all he has to do is agree with me just once, give me the parameters and stand back and watch the smoke fly.

So, knowing that our autumn family getaway was just around the corner, I hit the Internet and researched my little heart out and compiled a list of builders in the area we were most interested in.

But, I didn’t mention it to the kids.

“Why are we here? What’s this? I don’t see any pumpkins? Aren’t we going pumpkin picking?”

The barrage that came from behind me and directed right to the back of my head was not unlike that of a full blown air assault, I would imagine. I was ready though and made my counter attack.

 “Who wants to see some really neat houses?”

After reassuring the kids that we were NOT moving (right now, anyway) they thought it would be cool to, you know, walk around someone else’s house.

So we did.

“I don’t want to move… I like our house… I don’t like this town… I am not moving!

The funniest thing about this whole portion of the trip is how all four of my children kept repeating the same thing — until, they realized how much BIGGER these houses were and that…

[pause and highlight for effect]

….that each of them could have their own rooms…. and began coming up with their individual decorating plans.

“My bed would look great, here… my friends and I can play our video games, here… look, my room has two windows… what a great space for sleep-overs!”

I can still picture them, running back and forth, literally bumping into the walls and each other in excitement.        

“When do we move in?”

My youngest daughter (she’s 6) actually thought she could pick out a house, ask them to wrap it up, bring it back and erect it — yep, like a pile of Legos — in place of This Full House and missing socks.

If only it were that easy.

You see, it’s not just our current house — although, squeezing 6 people in a 7 room house isn’t easy — we had a plan:

  1. Move in.
  2. Have 2 kids
  3. Find something bigger and move out before they get into school.

This was going to be our starter home.

14 years and 4 kids, later — not to mention, having to refinance our butts off… three times… I believe that perhaps my husband, Garth (not his real name) and I have the slowest start on record!

“But, I don’t want to go to another school!”

There you have it — a clear view into the window of opportunity, sorely missed — truth of the matter is, my oldest daughter (she’s going to be 14, this month) is starting high school, next fall and wasn’t 9th grade, like, horrible?
“Yeah, what about Thanksgiving and Christmas?”

I imagined myself serving dinner in a picture perfect formal dining, forking up dessert next a crackling fire and having had it all prepared in a new state-of-the-art kitchen that, you know, actually works — what about it?

“We like things just the way they are and don’t want to live anywhere else.”

Buh… buh… but, they’d have their own rooms!

“We can’t move, Momma!”

[heavy sigh]

For the love of doG, why not?

“There’s just too many happy wee-mem-buh-rees.”

I bit my lower lip, glanced out my side window and pretended there was something in my eye.

“How about if we stop by your favorite hot dog place, grab a couple of birch beers and then stop by Home Depot and pick up a few samples of those new counter tops, instead?”

Thank you, Garth (not his real name) for having to take yet another u-turn; for helping me deal with my autumn depression and reminding me that it’s not the square footage, that matters.

“Throw in a couple of cans of paint and I’ll love you forever!”

That our house is home to some of my children’s happiest wee-mem-buh-rees — not to mention, the size of our homeowners insurance — that HAS to count for something!

“Why does Mommy get to pick all the colors?”

For now, at least.