I've been sitting on this huge, life altering news for almost two months, but haven't breathed (typed?) word of it! I am not a secret keeper by nature. I think I rocked this secret! And now I can tell, since its all non-news and we are staying put.
A week after Samuel's memorial service, I was still feeling low in spirits and energy.
Just lethargic all around.
We have contact with Dan's parents each week at almost the same time - Sunday evening.
We were sitting on our patio, watching the kids play in the mud and enjoying each other's company when we got a phone call from them that put our life on a different course for awhile.
They let us know that a family home would be for sale soon, and it would be something we should look into.
I will sort of shroud this part in mystery since its a public blog, but feel free to contact me if you want additional details because we are friends and you want to know more about my life or something, okay?
So, anyway, this is a house that we never considered being able to own at this time in our lives because it is so much house(!) with so much potential(!) and seems like the most perfect house in which to have children who have friends who play table tennis and take prom photos on the stairs and do mature, family life.
Its a house that has done these things (plus annual huge family Christmas for Dan's family for close to fifty years) and has been perfect.
We always liked this house and admired it from a far in the same way we admire people who buy vintage Mustangs. We love them, but we don't change our whole life to be the owners of one since its not the phase of life we are in.
So in that short phone conversation, we had a whole new problem/opportunity to consider besides just raw grief.
That was a blessing!
We had to think if we were ready to change from our moderately sized college town to a super-small town.
Oh no, I 'd miss our library, our dozens of parks, my HyVee, beloved anonymity in certain places around town, and steady friendships in familiar haunts.
We had to think if we'd be cool with Dan commuting an hour and fifteen minutes each way each day to the job he has now until he found a similar job closer to that new town.
But we love his gone before the kids wake up at 6:15 AM be home after the afternoon naps end at 3:15 PM job he has now and would have to sacrifice seeing him that additional two hours a day.
We had to do the tight math to see if it could work for our budget that's pretty well fixed here to see if there'd be room for a bigger house bill and commuting bill.
But maybe we COULD have a large house and pay the same payment we do on our small house and then have the additional money for the fuel we'd need.
We had to consider how many more times we would want to move, and if this would be our Grown Up Family House.
We hate moving, and we don't want to do it more than three more times in our entire life until we are dead.
We thought of what it would mean to have our home on the market.
They sell in about six weeks in our neighborhood these days, but that would be six long weeks of kid-free fun and mega-cleaning and could we wait to buy that house until ours was sold? lines of thinking.
We had to evaluate our life plan and goals at this point, wondering if we were just staying status quo and living without risk, but without real gain.
We've been living in the same town since our freshman year of college, though really not by absolute choice. We never gave up another job opportunity to choose this town above another town.
Practically all our friends have moved on and elsewhere.
We've had great luck and success here.
We live in the same house we bought when we were engaged, and we know we cannot afford much more of a house in this town with one income, so we haven't house-shopped.
We didn't really town-shop, either.
This topic was new and exciting, considering a move and big life change.
It was a great reprieve from wondering if I would get pregnant again this year and have another miscarriage and other big life stuff.
It brought us together as a couple and was a perfect distraction.
I called two close friends who helped me realize I would be game for a move like this, even though I do love living in my city.
They helped me realize the perks of the small town and proximity to family and tiny school system.
They agreed and lamented with me on the negative aspects we'd have living in a small town in close proximity to family and with a tiny school system.
They encouraged me with thought provoking options to consider.
They helped me think about the reasons I was drawn to the house and the issues I'd face if we moved.
They helped me consider this possibly once in a lifetime chance to buy this particular house with this particular specialness.
Thank you, Ann and Laura (and PS - can I link to your blogs?)
We made our "let's pursue this option" choice in a few days, which was good, since we were given a month before they'd make plans for selling the house on auction.
We would regret it if we didn't pursue it at all.
It would be better, WAY better, if this opportunity came two years from now, further into our financial goals for buying a bigger house and closer to the time we needed to decide where our kids would do school.
It wasn't two years from now, it was right now, right this instant.
Timing wasn't in our control on this one.
We toured the house as potential home buyers (instead of with the eyes of grandchildren home for a visit).
We thought about what we'd want the house to be like to fit us.
We thought about our life there.
We put some eggs in the basket, but didn't put the cart before the horse TOO much.
We discussed what we'd like to see happen with the people who were in charge of the estate.
We did a lot of pre-planning.
We tried being very emotionally distant (but the house with the perfect stairs for prom photos! A mantel for stockings! A place for a rec room!) and agreed to be content with what we have right now.
A lot of time went by for us.
It was probably twenty days or something in reality.
But since we altered our life plan in less than a week, it felt like a long time.
It was hurry up and wait.
And then not very positive news.
As it turns out, plans changed for the rest of the people involved.
The house won't sell in the way originally discussed or for the price originally discussed (thatwe can do it right now).
This means we have more time to scratch together savings OR it means we have more time to watch others buy the house instead of us.
It means the money part of it - and its tacky to talk money, I know, especially with family involved - but the money part just doesn't cut it for us to make a move now. Things would be tighter AND there'd be commuting fees and time.
So we were disappointed, and we pretty much figure we won't be moving into this awesome, perfect family house with a great location and yard and history.
But the good news is that we aren't that disappointed, only mildly.
There aren't hard feelings, and there isn't even a whisper of spite.
I think that's a good sign that we did this the right way!
I don't really want to move to Dan's hometown, and I do really like it here in our current life.
I do wish we had two extra rooms on our house, and Dan wishes we had more of a rural home experience, but these wishes aren't so pressing that we are going to force a move when its just not right.
This experience of "oh gosh, we need to figure out if we are going to move to a permanent place in a week" brought us a lot closer together.
It forced some conversations about what we really want to do vs. what we think the other wants to do vs. what is best for the whole family vs. what is best for individual members of the family vs. long term goals vs. short term goals.
We made so much progress on being the Dan and Bethany we will be in the future.
We worked great as a team, and we communicated well together on how our emotions and thoughts were fluctuating.
So, as it stands right now, we haven't discussed this house in two weeks and we aren't planning to move.
We aren't disappointed that we aren't moving right now.
We are making plans for the future without this house.
We are remembering how awesome of a house it is.
We are appreciating where we live right now.
There's no bitterness and no celebrations - its kind of a null feeling, I guess.
Its total peace on this situation, and I think it must be something bigger than ourselves on this -its because we prayed about this specifically.
But this was such a HUGE deal to us during the entire month of May that I couldn't not write about it!
I'd love any of your pieces of advice, particularly if and how you decided to move on from your default, everything is good and no major catalysts for moving to a new and different life. Really. How do I know when we are done with this phase of our life?