Thursday, August 9, 2012

Life is a Highway


For the past six weeks, I’ve been absent from my life.  I’ve let the laundry go without washing, allowed the dust to accumulate, and let the dishes stack up.  I haven’t had time to wash the sand out of the kids’ swimsuits or mend the hole in my bra that gives the underwire permission to poke me each day.  I haven’t paid the bills, balanced the checkbook, or planned our road-trip vacation that starts tomorrow.  But worst of all, I’ve plain out ignored my children.  I’ve been here with them, but not so much in a parental role, but in more of a peaceful co-existence.  

Stacy Snyder - Parent Unplugged - Life is a Highway - Keep the car on the road

My attentive parent hat was replaced with the all-consumed home buyer dunce cap.  Somebody had to take the job, as we need a place to live.  Half of my carefree summer has been eaten up by my full-time house-hunting gig.  Our building owner decided out of the blue to sell the two-flat we live in, and while the sale itself wasn’t a big surprise, the timing of having to move within 60 is stressful, to say the least.

Leisurely walks around the neighborhood pointing out different types of birds and flowers have been substituted with brisk speedwalking down each and every street in the neighborhood, hunting FOR RENT and FOR SALE signs.  Relaxing trips to the beach have been interrupted with quick exits to get to a showing with the real estate agent.  Movie nights with popcorn and M&M’s still happen, but without my presence, as I’m busy negotiating out the terms of the proposed sales contract for our new home.  And finally, early evening bike rides to the DQ have been usurped with harried phone calls to building owners regarding their potential interest to sell their building, when the house deal finally fell through. 

It’s been a necessary step in our journey this summer and I’m guessing I could feel discouraged that we’re back to square one with no apartment to rent and no home to buy.  Ironically, I feel relieved, though.

 I looked at my kids today and listened, for the first time in weeks, to what they were saying.  I hugged them and kissed them, and let them linger in my lap without pushing them away so that I could address a parapet wall repair estimate.  I ate breakfast alongside them without excusing myself before my last bite.  I ran behind them as they rode their bikes as fast as they could, and didn’t even stop to talk to the seller of the building we had been trying to buy, as we ran past her down the block.  I wasn’t even mad at the woman for reneging on the deal that would now take us back to the drawing board in regards to finding a place to live.  She gave me my life back.  

I say to my kids often that it doesn’t matter if we live in a straw hut, so long as we’re all together.  I should amend that last phrase to be ‘so long as we’re all together and present.’  I can’t even begin to justify letting six weeks float by without really having any idea what’s been going on in my kids’ heads.   Throwing caution to the wind by leaving our housing situation up in the air to deal with when we get back, I'm going to follow the "Life is Highway, I'm gonna ride it all night long" chorus and just focus on my family and our fun for the next ten days.  The daily stresses of life will still be there when we get home, but my kids' being receptive to my attention will be gone before I know it.