At the risk of seeming like Captain Obvious, it took many deep breaths to get through that first year. And once we got through that first year, we had more hurdles tossed our way...we lost our first huskie rescue, Zoe, to an unforeseen/unanticipated breed-specific condition; we were dragged into a frivolous lawsuit that has forever changed our family; and, with trepidation, we opened our home to a few people who needed a safe place to land and re-group.
The story I am compelled to share is one that leads us to the toughest decision of our marriage, thus far. Do we stay or do we go?
In the past 4+ years, we have rebuilt and "warmed" a home for two children who desperately needed a safe, welcoming, peaceful home-base. In that time we have learned the meaning of the word "neighbor" in ways that we've never experienced or imagined.
We've participated in a neighborhood watch that has driven out the gang bangers/dealers/drug houses and welcomed 2 new gyms and people roller blading...wth!?!!? Block parties, food passed over fences, all night pork roasts, church revivals...Vecinos...
This home has come to be the greatest new marriage team builder known to man! My husband and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary in January, and I can honestly say that he and I are the best decision-making team I've ever known. Ever. We are best friends but more importantly, we share a vision and ideas that work. The kids see it, friends and family see it. It's a power like I've never known before. Together we have weathered more in 5 years than some people see in a lifetime.
Today, the home is far from complete, but it's loved--a symbol of love, commitment and safety. The kids love it, the dogs love it, the cat loves it. It's been loved by friends, family, borders, neighbors, besties, etc. etc. The community we have built in the neighborhood feels natural to me, despite my own language not being the first language of the block and the ability to pass salt to your neighbor while they are in THEIR house eating dinner! We celebrate, entertain, rest and laugh a lot in this home. I've even adapted to no central AC!
And now, the rub that we did not see coming. Our oldest is 3 years from starting high school and our local high school will not cut it. We are not willing to risk interrupting her burgeoning brilliance yet we cannot afford private school. So, while we line up the stars for selective enrollment high school in Chicago, and pray a little, we consider relocating to a neighboring suburb. And to my own shock--I don't really want to move. Not yet.
Yes. I want a bigger yard. And I want more peace. And I want less crime. Of course. But if we leave, we give up our loving, protective neighbors. We give up our car pool mom-friends. We give up the businesses we've adopted and the haunts we frequent. And while, logically, I know all of these can be replaced, sentimentally, I do not want to leave them. Community is what's going wrong in so many parts of the world today, so I want mine. I want to keep it. I want to protect it.
What will happen now is a waiting game. Can we find a good high school situation in the city? I hope so. I really do. I can't believe I just said that...