Saturday, October 25, 2008

Two months

Scenario A:
I drive home. On the way up the hill, I pass by the location where I helped a junior high boy who had crashed his skateboard and was unconscious when I got there. I drive past the few dozen homes on the way to ours and notice the leaves turning from green to red to orange before slowly falling onto the still green grass below. I pull into my driveway of my first home with Dan. It's an italian-inspired three bedroom with custom tile. I think of our deck that we hand-built and how much I can't wait until next summer to see the plants from this spring take root in the railroad-tie retaining wall and start their slow decent down to the deck. I'm excited. Kellen is here and we are leisurely enjoying our time together while I'm off on maternity leave. Dan is in school, but we have the days together as his classes don't start until 3:15. Every time I walk by Kellen's nursery I am proud. This junk room is now a bedroom, a sign of the reality that we are now a family of three. I am planning Halloween, Christmas. Dan and I talk about our plans in 3 or 4 years. I might start my Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a focus on child development. We would have to move. Either way, in 3 years, we will have outgrown our house and will need to move. It will mean new neighbors, a new start as our family expands.

Scenario B:
August 25. A fire. Total loss. A community of support. New friends made in the middle of tragic conditions. Moving to a new house, a rental that someone will try to break into in the early morning hours of October 25. Kellen will not be home until January or February. I spend my maternity leave looking at price lists, trying to inventory my losses. We take Kellen to pick out windows, doors, carpet, hardwood. The sleepless nights seem like nothing. We've been through so much and lost sleep over more. We are building a house to grow into- 5 bedrooms. We talk about the reality that this could be our forever house, the one that our kids return to as adults with their children. We think about our life in Boise, where our kids will go to school, what Dan will do. We talk about Ph.D. options since there is no psych program here.

There have definitely been other defining moments of my life. Every moment is theoretically defining I suppose. But often we do not see those crossroads until many years later when we reflect upon our choices and our realities. This moment has been a defining moment in my life, and I knew it as soon as it happened. It has fundamentally altered the direction of our lives. We know we will not move for many years. What would that move have meant? Kellen has been in the spotlight. How will that affect his life? Charlie, the fireman, asked me if this change in course was good or bad or just different. It's just different. We don't have the option of living the life the other way. I have no way of judging its relative goodness or badness because I don't know what things would have been like otherwise. It just is. And I will make this path good. Knowing that doesn't stop me from thinking about my other life, life without the fire.


  1. Someone tried to break into your rental house?! Are you kidding me? I'm so sorry!

  2. That's what I get for thinking I maybe got a "bye" from bad things for a while! Thankfully we were up nursing so Dan heard the noise.