The Newborn Years

Friday, May 19, 2017


Moving to a new town is exciting but unknown and, for routine lovers like me, it can take a little while to hone out a groove in a new space. I've been thinking back to when we first moved to Athens two years ago. It was a huge move -- my first time moving outside of the state I grew up in -- but it just felt right. We moved into a house, sight unseen, and set up a home. It felt like one right from the start. I kept waiting for the homesickness to kick in all that summer, but I eventually realized that it was possible to love and miss a place while still feeling really happy in the place you were. I learned a lot about contentment that summer.

A month ago, we packed up our belongings and moved again. This time to our own little house near the mountains. It's been exciting, but there are a lot of unknowns. I'm still figuring out a new groove in this town. The first few weeks of moving were a whirlwind. There were lots of back and forth trips to our old house, hauling and organizing boxes, tearing into projects, falling asleep late and getting up early for work. It was a little while before I came up for air and realized Whoa. I live here now. Some days I feel confined to this little space we're trying to put our mark on. Our days revolve around this house and fitting projects in where we can. It's incredibly exciting, but it also can feel a little isolating. I know the route to Home Depot and Lowes by memory, but I can't tell you where the parks and cute coffee shops are. I pause from a project long enough to take a truckload of debris to the county landfill, but I still don't know where the locals eat.

Sometimes I imagine this is what it's like to have a newborn consuming all of your heart, mind, and focus while a whole world spins along outside your window. This house is our newborn right now. It's very needy and sometimes it spits up at the worst possible moment (that's my subtle analogy for the septic problems we dealt with), but we love it enough to pour our pennies and sweat into it even if it is overwhelming at times.

The other night as we were pulling electrical wire through the house, Mark jokingly said, "We're going to be so bored once we finish working on this house." I laughed because boredom sounded pretty good to me at the moment. (Can you tell how much I enjoy pushing wire through tiny holes in the wall???) I'm keeping my eye on the big picture, though. Some people remodel houses all the time, but for most people (and, likely us) it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are parts of this process that I definitely will not miss down the road (like scraping, sanding, and repainting a room I thought I had already finished), but I want to appreciate the journey we're on while we're on it.

Behind the excitement of a remodel hides the mundane chores and headaches of homeownership, but we're learning to navigate the quirks of our newborn just like everyone else. It's far from glamorous. Some days I have to squint really hard to picture the finished results. But it's nice to know the newborn phase doesn't last forever. We'll get to know our new town, the never-ending painting will eventually be done, and there will be functioning cabinets, countertops, and kitchen appliances in this house once again.

For now, I'm learning all about contentment again and that it exists even when your septic tank isn't working.

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