In exactly two hours I am buying my first house as a single mom. I am not a first time home owner it's true, but I am a first time single mom home buyer and I must admit it is simultaneously amazing and terrifying. To go from a world of carefully monitored small debt to a giant world of massive debt is daunting. To go from street parking to a driveway with a garage parking is relieving. To go from a town where everyone knows Koosh to a town of strangers is well, a leap of faith.
Leaving an academic institution for a new academic institution is a strange and wondrous challenge, particularly if you are a parent. I have been moving every five years (at most) ever since I left home, nearly 17 years ago. I have never lived in one place for enough time to develop the kind of friendships and bonds where people can say, “I’ve known her for 15 years” and still drop in for a casual Sunday visit. Yet I’ve always longed for that, and indeed hoped for that with my last tenure track position. It was not to be (as you might have figured if you’ve read my essay in MaMa PhD) and my new appointment is a much better match for me artistically, professionally and personally. I am excited to work with people to whom I feel a deep collaborative connection. I am excited to work on a tenure track portfolio with the help of strong mentors and a supportive department. I’m most excited about being able to spend more time at home with my son. However, Koosh has only known this one world, this one place. He has bonded with the wonderful women of Gingerbread (our previous daycare center) and with the few student babysitters I have employed across his lifetime. He’s connected to the little playground down the street and the little boy next door. He had a mini meltdown when I packed the humidifier that has lain dormant since January in the corner of his room. “I miss it!” he cried waking up in the middle of the night, “Where is it? I need it!” My mother, in town helping me pack, subsequently unpacked the useless humidifier and reinstalled it in his room. This is his world and I am about to turn it upside down.
I recently read this blog post called “single mom seeking”. She spoke about how she moved with her then two year old across country to start a new life. The little girl is eight now I believe, and is just beautiful. She also looks very happy. It is amazing how there are these little bits of hope scattered across the internet. Women and their children do this all the time. Starting over is a part of life. This is not the last time Koosh will have to do this, but oh - if there were some way to make it easier on him!
After signing on the house today I have appointments to interview two possible babysitters. Tomorrow I check out two daycares and two preschools. Sometime in between I will sign up for a library card and for a membership to the pool. My biggest pass time right now is imagining how I can paint Koosh’s room to look like the night sky. All I want is to create a place for him, a place where he can feel completely at home. In exactly…. One and a half hours from now (yikes!), that new house will be ours. Then making it a home, the next step, begins.