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Finding the “Forever Home” Is Not as Fun as It Sounds

So we walk into the closet. And I mean walk. As in distance. As in, holy sweet mother of aunt jebus, this closet is HUGE. You could have seriously put a bed in it. And a desk. And another closet.

It was big enough to have a closet within a closet.

“This,” I whisper, “Is what we’re missing.”

We live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood in a nice, big, vibrant city. We love our place. It’s been great.

But from the moment we moved in, we knew it wouldn’t be the “forever home.” It’s a perfectly nice starter home, but we never envisioned ourselves in it for more than, say, a few years.

It’s been a few years.

And so we’ve started sort of casually looking, indulging an already pronounced penchant for real estate-peekery (House Hunters anyone?) with a new desire for actual real estate. In all likelihood, we’ll remain in the same neighborhood. We love it. We love the city. We loving raising a kid in the city. We love her school. It’s all Americana happiness 24/7. Yay.

But then there’s the what ifs.

What if we moved … out of the city? What if we moved to the ‘burbs. Or to the country? Yes, my wife’s commute would be substantial and involve a car, unlike her current 20-minute door-to-door subway/walk routine. And we’d probably wind up not walking around so much — one of our greatest joys.

But did you see that closet?

And the pool?

And the … space? Good god man, the space.

As we look at these homes, both in the ‘burbs and in the city, we take our 6-year-old daughter with us, and it’s probably fair to say she is both amazed and annoyed at the process. On the one hand, she’s just as enamored by the idea of a pool as I am.

“I can invite over all my school friends, right? I’ll still play with them every day, right?”

On the other hand, she’s old enough to latch onto the idea that new house, big yard, sweet pool … all mean big, big changes.

It’s difficult to go house shopping with a kid. I can’t imagine the turmoil in her brain: everything she knows, everyone she plays with … potentially gone in a month because of the size of that closet. Well, not just the closet. The lifestyle. The space. The newness of it all. The potential for each place to be the place — the forever home place.

Then again … maybe not.

We try to keep it all fun and light, for the moment. We’re just looking. Nothing is happening … soon.

We’re still looking around our neighborhood, hoping to find a gem we can afford. But we’re also wondering if maybe space in the country might be worth the trade-off for a longer commute and more time in the kiddie car pool lane. We’re not sure, yet, what we want to do, other than it feels like it’s time to move into that “forever home” if we can find it.

So I look at this big honking closet and all these fancy rooms and that incredible yard, and I watch as the kid frolics around, pretending like we are about all the fun we could have here, and I shake my head at all the changes that might fall on her.

When we get home, we reassess our current house and try to imagine staying for much longer than we anticipated, try to imagine what it might look like if we somehow fixed things up and turned this into our “forever home.” We’re also trying to keep a more even keel about the whole thing, assessing what we actually need versus what we want — the bells and whistles of a closet so big you could sleep in it, for instance.

We don’t know yet what we’re going to do and there is no easy answer to tie it all up. You make trade-offs, it seems. This for that. You give up so much and hope to gain something back in return. I feel for the kid, because it’s easy to see, walking around the fancy houses with pools and yards, what you get in return. But I wonder if she really knows yet what her parents might make her give up?

How do you involve kids in moving?

Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!

Previously on Babble

The Best Food for Kids (At Heart) at Disneyland
Kids and Trees: Summer’s Call of the Wild

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