Monday, July 2, 2012

For Sale

I've mentioned before that B and I have talked about putting our house on the market.  We have four flights of stairs, and our home just isn't one that was made for an adorable little girl in lavender glasses with her purple gait trainer. It just wasn't. 

But as I type this, my heart feels heavy and I have a knot in my stomach because...well, because there was a time when a freshly pregnant me and B walked into this house for the very first time, after two months of looking at every other house for sale in the area, and we just knew.  We knew we had to make this one ours.  We'd each finished grad school, we'd been married two years, were both well on our way in our careers, and had just found out we were I was pregnant, and . . . we were ready to buy the house we'd bring our children home to.   We'd looked a long time to find a house that had "space to grow into."  So that we could be here for awhile.  A place that we'd be able to bring home our first child to, and our second.

And when we walked into this house, we knew, this was it.  We made an offer that night, and agonized for days over the offer-counter-offer-counter-counter-offer process until finally, finally, we got word that it would be our house.  We were giddy.  We knew just which room we'd turn into the nursery, and as soon as we found out Sammie B was a girl, we picked out the lavender paint.

And in all of that, there were assumptions.  Naive, innocent assumptions.  That our little girl would come home to this house, learn to walk here, and bound up the stairs after us.  And well, those things haven't happened.  So, while this was the perfect house for our little family, it just isn't now, but that's been hard to come to terms with.  But we are.  We've signed the papers, and this little house is going on the market.  I cry when I think about it, in part because, I just can't stop flashing back to that first time we walked in.   When we thought "this is it."   Because now, it's not.   And, I couldn't stop myself tonight from looking back at pictures from the day we found out that the sellers had accepted our offer.  When we came back to take one last look -- a last look that just reaffirmed for us that this house was the one.   When I stood out front with my tiny little baby belly and beamed because we were making it ours. 

May 2008, 4 months pregnant with Sammie B

Except now, it's not the one anymore.  It's not the house for our family. 

We want our girl to have a home that she can navigate independently.  One that is accessible to her and her gait trainer and whatever equipment she may ultimatlely need.  And this house -- with its FOUR flights of stairs -- 32 steps in total -- is NOT that house.  

On top of the emotional aspect of the desicion to sell, there's the practical side too . . . that the market still sucks, we don't know whether we'll ultimately be able to get what we owe, etc.  We know we'll likely need to rent for awhile to save up for another down payment (we know we'll never get back what we paid down, which is devastating . . . we saved for so long to be able to buy this little townhouse just a few minutes from the beach).   And, while I can't totally put it into words, somehow selling the house we were so proud to buy and having to rent while we save for a down payment again feels a bit like a failure.  We were so, so proud to buy this one . . . it felt like we had "made it."  The me that had been terrified  we couldn't "make it" here when we moved from Missouri (where we paid only $750 for an apartment) to So-Cal (where our first apartment was less than half the size of that Missouri one for more than double the price) (and the me that knew many others thought we were crazy to make that move) has probably always felt like having this house was a sign that we had indeed "made it."  

The weight - both the emotional weight and the weight of the financial worries, is heavy on me tonight.   Suddenly, a year of paying for therapies that used to be provided by the state's early intervention program (until Sammie B aged out at 3) is hitting us harder than before.  I feel like the bills never stop.  It's all just cumulative I guess, and well, it sucks.   It sucks to have two very decent incomes and yet feel so strapped.  By something that is so very, very out of our control.  Something that causes our girl -- our magical girl -- to have to work so damn hard at everything.  Because that's the part of this that sucks the most -- that SHE has to work so hard.  The rest -- the bills, the house -- I guess its just like rubbing a little salt in it all. 

Sigh.  Big Fat Sigh.

It'll be okay.  Because life is about the memories made in a home, and not about the home itself.   And we ARE making sweet, sweet memories.  And, I truly, truly believe that a move might be a blessing in other, unexpected ways.  Certainly if we can rent for less than our mortgage we can (perhaps) feel more freedom than we currently do, because lately . . . lately we are bogged down.  We just are. 

We aren't, in any way, giving up on our girl walking independently.  That's not what this move is about.  But the thing is, we know that right now Sammie B needs a home that is accessible to her.  And right now, she's not walking independently.  We need a home that is accessible.  One where she can navigate using her gait trainer, or whatever adaptive equipment she ultimately needs.  There's something about living in a house with so many stairs that makes it feel like we are just waiting for her to walk, waiting for this house to make sense for our family again.  And life can't be about waiting.  It has to be about living in the now.   And so, right now, she needs a more accessible home.  And because she needs it, we need it.  Right now.  Not when the market is better, which we know we might be able to wait for.  The "waiting" sometimes gets in the way of living and right now, we know what we need to do.  For her.  And, for us. 

As this journey goes, up and down.  My heart has felt a constant up and down lately.  The weight of bills, the weight of selling the house and all that that desicion feels like it represents.  Heavy.  But on the flipside, my girl is melting my heart day in and day out.  She keeps lifting my heart up in a way that I so, so need right now (Friday night, I put her to bed and said, "I love you," to which she said, "I love you more, mama." and my heart melted in a puddle on the floor).   She's magic.  She deserves the world.   The giggles from two little girls in the bathtub make my heart feel like singing, even on the toughest days.   They make my world go 'round.

Sammie B deserves a home that is fully accessible to her.   And so, we will get her just that.

Anything less than giving this girl the world is just not an option. 

Pure Magic

A few weeks ago, after we first sat down with our realtor to talk about putting the house up for sale, B and I looked at each other and said, "well this sucks."   And, today, after a rough day and finalizing the "for sale" type of papers, B and I felt heavy.  

And, then, after dinner, we put on some Bob Marley, Sam declared "It's a dance party!" and we popped her in her purple gait trainer (which, at this point, is perhaps more appropriately called an "assistive dancing device"), and we danced.   And we sang.  Because what else can you do?

Every little thing's gonna be alright.   Isn't it?


Faye said...

Thank you for writing this post. Sometimes it helps others who feel so alone in all this "special needs" stuff.

Hopeful Mother said...

I've been reading your blog for a while. Fellow mom of hypotonic-CP-non-diagnosed almost 5 year old boy here.

Just wanted to know if you have a CP diagnosis for Sammie B? If you do, you should be able to get her qualified for CCS PT and OT through the Medical Therapy program?

Zach said...

oh, so hard!
We just bought a home, and we're still in the process of selling our old 1-bedroom condo. This new home was really more than we could afford, but we wanted a house that would make sense for us in terms of being walkable to activities for kids, grocery, park, jcc, and library. But money is so tight, and I am so stressed about the old apartment and how the closing has been delayed...I can't think of anything about real estate that is EASY, even though at its best it is rewarding.
It's awesome to sit on our front porch and watch neighborhood kids play, or to pick an APPLE from the APPLE TREE in our new backyard, or to put stuff in the basement because we have a basement now, or to be able to buy things at costco because we have a full-sized fridge instead of an apartment-sized one. Plus we now live 30 minutes from my family instead of 8 hours, which was the real reason for the move. But even with all of these good reasons, I miss our old neighborhood and hate how much time I spend worrying about money.
Anyway, all my best to you. I think it's great that you are taking this step and recognizing what's best for you as a family has changed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks all.

Hopeful Mother,

Because Sam had a "normal" MRI (thus no neurological markers for CP), we've been told we will not qualify for CCS.

We are, however, hoping that Medi-Cal will kick in soon and help us with some of the co-pays.

Admittedly, a lot of our private expenses are those private therapies that just won't be covered under any program - hippotherapy, speech (neither our insurance or medi-cal will cover), swimming . . . but these are things we just absolutely won't give up. And, our childcare costs are also astronomical . . . somedays I just feel pissed off that it has to be so hard. For her and for us.

- Momttorney

schlennerfamilyof4 said...

Allison I haven't been on your blog in such a long time. I know this decision was really tough but you know you are doing what you feel is right for your family and I commend you. Sometimes I feel like I live in a dream world where things will be perfect. Then reality sets in like Hayden not being potty trained that I think the way we live is not realistic. Just know you are not a failure and your little family loves you. You will again find your dream home and all will be perfect. Thinking of you!!

Anonymous said...

This post was tough to read. You guys are so great; Sammy is so beautiful and, indeed, magical. I wish it were FAR less difficult for your family.

Consider what would change if you lived in an enormous house that was on one level with VERY wide hallways the length of bowling alleys. Would that incredible little girl be able to walk them in her gait trainer?

If not, you can wait to sell - wait until she does walk those alleys.

If so, sell, sell, sell with an easy heart. Your townhouse means nothing if it isn't functioning for your family. The house failed your family, not the other way around!!!

Cristina Might said...

We won't be deciding what to do with our house for another 3 years, but I feel the weight of your worry. Sometimes it feels like nothing is ever EASY anymore.

All that aside, you'll find a fantastic new home. :)

Hopeful Mother said...

My Alex (now 4.5 yrs) also had a "normal" MRI at 18months, but several neurologists had given a clinical dx of CP to him because nothing else really fit and we ruled out many other things in the process. At the beginning, we qualified with CCS as "rule out CP dx" which changed over to "CP dx" at age 3 with the dx from 2 different neurologists.

It may be different in your area, but I think CCS should accept a private neuro's CP diagnosis (at least they did in our case) as a qualifying diagnosis. There are many people (my son included) who have clinical presentation of CP without obvious issues in the brain showing on an MRI and no obvious event during pregnancy or birth.

And, yes, Medi-Cal should help with some of this too. Like you said, not all of the therapies even accept insurance (private or otherwise) but every little bit helps.

You may also know this too, but once Sammie B is 3, she should also qualify for speech therapy services through your local school district.

Anyway, I'm sure you have investigated all these avenues, but wanted to let you know about our situation. I understand very well what you are going through and hope that you are able to move soon! I wish it didn't have to be so hard.