Thanks to my wonderful wife for writing this great post!
Our Suburban “Flight”
This week, I taught my daughter a new term. “Mixed Feelings.” She was having a hard time finding the words to describe her feelings about our rapidly impending move to a new home in a different school district. She initially refused to talk about the transition-until I described to her my own “mixed feelings.”
We never sat down and decided to list “Urban Dwellers” as one of our goals. I didn’t set out to start my family amidst city streets, tall buildings and a general lack of greenspace. It was all rather accidental. My first year of medical school, a good friend and I rented a house in the St. Joe’s area. It was a fun little neighborhood-even though we were the minority from a social and demographic perspective, I really fell in love with the area. My classmates were all staying in big apartment buildings and never learned to explore downtown Indy.
That first year was also spent planning our wedding and Pete’s transition to Indianapolis. We had no idea where he would be working (or if!) and settled on staying in the immediate downtown area. A unique opportunity allowed us to build a small home in an up and coming neighborhood. We took the leap and built our first home. Looking back, we had no idea the risk that we had taken!
Fortunately, it worked out very well. Staying in Indianapolis for residency helped us stay in the house for nearly 8 years. We had a beautiful and affordable 1100 sq. ft home to start our family. Fast forward a few years and now we’ve got 3 children and an 80 pound “doodle” in one darn small home.
I knew we’d move eventually. I thought the issue would be the size of the home-but I’ve tried to challenge that notion with the knowledge of people living in smaller spaces in New York, Chicago and those living in poverty around the world. We do make every square foot of this house function on a daily basis and we are a close, snuggly family that doesn’t mind time spent together.
I also thought we’d move because of the school system. When we first bought this home, the options downtown were 1) abysmal, 2) expensive, or 3) parochial AND pricy. None would work for us. In a stroke of fate or magic, a wonderful magnet school opened near us as Eloise approached kindergarten. We’ve considered options for keeping her in school here and commuting her daily from the “good district” where we’ll be living. We’ve also looked at many homes that split the distance and would allow us to commute her to school. Education just wasn’t really the issue that we’d worried it would be. We’ll switch her to the school near our new home, but simply because of location.
The entire deal boiled down to me. My commute, my job, blah blah. I hate that our entire decision has become singularly focused on my career. On the other hand, I’ve been blessed to be joining a fabulous group at a tertiary care center. That job just happens to be near an excellent school district and dozens of neighborhoods with more spacious homes and larger lots.
I will be getting an extra 45 minutes each day at home. I might sleep in a few more minutes, or maybe take the dog for a run. I’ll see my kids before bedtime most nights once we move rather than a crapshoot and a drag race to get home before bedtime. Once my “real” job starts, the numbers look even better.
I’m certainly sad to leave. I spent an hour last night asking friends from the ‘burbs where to shop, dine, and socialize. I’m imagining dinner at Applebee’s, groceries from large chains and no more quick trips to our butcher, microbrewery, Mass Ave, and great restaurants. I feel like we’ll drive everywhere, be surrounded by our exact demographic, and lose touch with everything we’ve known for the past decade.
I guess “mixed feelings” is just the right term. I can’t wait to have a few more (thousand) square feet. I can’t wait for my kids to have their own rooms (even though all three sleep in the same room by choice). I’m looking forward to the 5 minute commute and the extra time I will spend with my babies. Target, Costco and Trader Joe’s will be a guilty pleasure and a wonderful convenience. I’m very happy that the education options are great in both communities and that we’ve made the choice that suits our family.
Cheers to the 135 boxes we’ve packed this weekend!