Friday, September 26, 2008

Journal: having it all

"Having it all doesn't necessarily mean having it all at once."
--Stephanie Luetkehans

For the first time in my life--aside from my first year of college--I do not have access to a washer and dryer in my home. For that matter, I no longer have a garbage disposal either. And this was by choice! My husband and I decided to move to the northeast before we knew we were going to have a family. We signed a lease on this little apartment before we knew we were pregnant. We thought we were being adventurous. We dreamed of taking long weekend trips to France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. We planned on trekking up and down the coast. I planned to see a Broadway show at least once a month and check out all the top rated tearooms in NYC. Who needs more room when you plan to be "out" most of the time? Four days before we moved we learned we were going to have a baby. Now I think "adventurous" is not the right word to describe us. Impulsive? Naive, maybe?

We moved from a home that had a backyard and a deck where we grilled. We placed pumpkins on the front porch in October and potted flowers there in the summer. Inside was enough room to entertain. Guests slept over in a real bed with a private room and their own bathroom. Stockings hung from the mantle at Christmas. One room was set aside as a library/music room where I shut the French doors and played the piano or curled up with a book. In one corner of the house was a bedroom that never really had a purpose except to store random junk, but it had a pretty window and always seemed to be set aside to be the perfect place for a nursery. We hoped to create a shelf along the top perimeter of the room and place a model train on it. When we bought the home, the only picture in the entire house was a framed ultrasound on the mantle. It seemed like a good place to start a family.

Who knew it wouldn't happen that way?

Our apartment apartment. The laundry is in the basement--when it works. (The washer and dryer both broke one week before Max arrived and wasn't replaced until he was almost three weeks old. Do you know how much laundry a baby creates? Because of his overzealous spitting up and bathroom habits, he goes through more changes of clothes than a gal preparing for a first date.) Every wall in this place is white, rather than a cheery color. Limited space has tapped out my brain for storage ideas and there is more clutter than I prefer. Guests sleep on our fold-out couch that I hear gets less comfy each night. Perhaps because of this, we have fewer visitors than I'd hoped. I miss the dinners with friends and my regular writing and reading groups. I also miss calling up a pal and meeting for tea or a movie. However, we're close to The Big Apple, and our love for the city was a motivation for moving. Wonderful dining experiences and Broadway shows are just a train ride away. We're also a short drive from many exciting places to visit. From our windows we can watch the changing seasons--yes, there really are entire seasons here! The bursts of color in the spring and fall give way to lush greens and peaceful whites respectively. And we haven't had to mow the lawn once.

Is this the ideal home where I wanted to start my family? Absolutely not. Is this an experience that is totally mine? Absolutely. Before the year even arrived, I pledged that 2008 would be two-thousand-great. With my new baby and new book, it looks like that's happened.

Some say it's the little things that matter. But keeping the big picture in mind helps me get through the day.

Journal: Write a response to the quote at the top of the blog.

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