Diapers and Dragons

Monday, August 24, 2009


Every new stage brings anxiety; every move a questioning of the path. Where will this take us? What pitfalls lie down this way? Is this the right decision? My heart pounds, my breath catches, my muscles ache.

Our current living situation isn't working out. We are forty-five minutes apart. The children constantly wonder which house they'll sleep in tonight, even when we stick to a schedule, even when we tell them what will be happening. They mourn the absence of their belongings that are elsewhere, the security of their own space. He Who Was has what amounts to PTSD about his children living in Detroit, the scars of his own tormented experience when he was a child growing up in a neighborhood taken hostage by gangs and drugs.

We found an apartment complex a mile and a half down the road from our house, a well-kept place with tidy lawns and clean pool and uncracked tennis courts and a playground nestled at the center. They are running a special, one-bedroom apartments for $399. We ran the numbers, and if we tighten our belts, we can afford the extra expense. We applied; we were accepted. Next month we will begin a new phase in our journey.

The children will stay at the house: no more travelling back and forth. He Who Was and I will be the ones to travel, albeit only the mile and a half between. We'll be able to do occasional spontaneous visits or activities with the children, no longer figuring in a lengthy commute. We can be backup for each other in emergency. We can each take one child for special time one-on-one. I will no longer have to fill my gas tank twice a week and need oil changes after a mere month. These are good things.

And yet.

We will no longer have our own spaces, our safety zones. I will no longer have my brother close at hand for backup or venting or just hanging out. I will leave the comfort of the beautiful space my parents have created in exchange for an apartment with blank walls and beige carpets, and a house haunted by memories of a shattered life.

There is gain; there is loss. There is uncertainty. This seems the best option for the time being, but it is not perfect. Nothing can be perfect. Nothing can be sure.

So my heart races, my lungs labor, my muscles clench. And I grit my teeth and step forward into yet another day.

10 bits of love:

Mwa said...

That's amazing. You are both putting the children first. Do you know how many people would even consider that? Amazing.

Anonymous said...

So will the boys be staying at the house with He Who Was? Or will you be at the house?
- SoccerSister

Beck said...

That is very admirable - so the parent who has custody at any given time will live in the house and the other parent will live in the apartment and then switch? Very grown-up and mature of both of you. Good work.

Arby said...

You two are amazing in your ability to put the children first. You never know how this will affect your relationship. I don't want to put an annoyingly happy spin on a very difficult situation, but this may turn out to be a very good thinig for you two as well as your children.

Draft Queen said...

That Guy and I did that too in the beginning. We're considering doing it again if I take a dive and take on more work. It's a weird adjustment at first but honestly works out SO SO much better than tons of commuting and forgetting possessions...

If you ever need someone to vent on, you have my number. (hugs)

mom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mom said...

I understand why you two need to try this, and I sure do understand why you feel so much uncertainty too. All I know is that you, dear one, are asking the Lord to lead you, and as you move forward with a listening heart, he will -- and he'll use this for good in your life as you cooperate with him. We'll keep this in our prayers, believe me. I'm happy for DramaBoy and the Widget (please hug them hard for me), sad for your brother. It's been good for him to have you around, too. Du courage! Tell us: when will it happen??

merideth said...

so mature (and so hard!) - you should be happy with your ability to think of the kids while you're in pain. also, ditto everything your mom said.

MomZombie said...

I read this when you posted but had no time to comment. Now I do: I hope this plan works for your children most of all. As the mother of a daughter who has lived most of her life with two bedrooms, two sets of clothes, two bathrooms, and two of god only knows what else, this should go a long way to help your boys feel rooted and secure. I'm sure my girl would have heartily approved of such a plan. Had I heard of such a plan way back when I may have considered it. I understand your feelings about the massive change, too, as I've been down the road. One thing I've learned is that I don't need as much as I think I do and I'd gladly sacrifice whatever creature comforts I "think" I need for my child's security and well-being.

Anonymous said...

He Who Was... really starting to hate that title

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