Nearly 10 years ago my husband and I decided to make a huge change and leave downtown Indianapolis in exchange for suburban life on the west-side of the city. There were a few major factors that went into this decision - most importantly, my oldest daughter's fourth birthday. Living beyond the core city limits meant a huge increase in living expenses and to be frank, we struggled. We're both creatives - hard people to tack down in the traditional workforce - and we both spent a lot of time working jobs we hated to make ends meet. It was worth it to be able to send our girl to a great township school as kindergarten was on the horizon and we could be closer to both of our families.
We each shifted goals and found our way to an income we could live on and still have some change for the piggy bank at the end of the month. Our youngest had started school by this time and was attending the same township school our oldest had for all of her elementary years. Little Mae didn't have the same aptitude for school that her sister had - in fact, the teachers were having a hard time keeping up with our Alizah even after she was placed in an accelerated program while Mae slipped into the background from the start. She had to work twice as hard to be half as strong as her classmates in the only subjects that seem to matter these days - writing and math. We noticed last year that she was showing signs of acute stress and as a mother I went into panic mode. Should I homeschool her? Should we move? Am I completely over-reacting and acting like a crazy person? We decided to push through the rest of the school year and sort of... cross our fingers and hope for the best. Mae ended the year on a high, even earning an award for most improved student. She turned failures into accomplishments and we were beaming with pride.
This summer we decided to make the move from renting to owning and in many ways felt like if we were going to ever meet our long-term goals, we needed to buckle down and make some changes. We did all of these grown-up things that we had avoided for far too many years (like getting approved for a mortgage... eep!) and began looking for a place to settle into. When the opportunity arose for us to get into the house next door to my parents, we hesitated for a moment, looked at each other, and asked if this would bind our family together or tear us apart. We decided to go for it. The house was about half a tick off of our long-term goal home as it was, and having my parents so near had some significant advantages; one being that Mae could stay at her school.
Our oldest got into a wonderful charter school in the city for high school and I was wrestling with my new twice-daily commute. I came down to tears a few times feeling like a selfish cow for being aggravated by a grueling two hours a day in the car, fighting through traffic, and balancing the kid's different schedules down to the minute. I submitted to the change, as we do, and began to feel the new rhythm easily.
The new year seemed to be off to a smooth start and we noticed Mae quietly struggling yet again. F, F, F... Seeing the pain and embarrassment on her face was too much. Something was going to change. My husband attended meet the teacher night at the charter high school and suddenly everything I had been saying about Mae's education came into focus for him. He understood. He saw what I saw. The next morning we visited a charter school near Alizah's high school for grades K-8. We moved all the way out here just to end up sending both of our kids to school in the city. It's almost hilarious. But, we live for these kids and even though the tears welled up in me again at the thought of extending the daily commute time by a full hour at least, I will push on.
I haven't been occupying this space for some time and I've said nothing really about our move over the summer until now... Here are some pics of our new pad.
And in case you were wondering, living next to my parents has been one of the sweetest changes I've made in my adult life. We are closer and more open with each other and my base level of contentness has risen drastically. I feel more at peace and grounded than ever before.
Also, I'm now posting some previews of my upcoming book! Check out the Family-Friendly Knits Blog (find it on the drop down menu ^^^)