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Dec 20 2013

Friday Night: We Survived Our First Year in the Suburbs

By at 12:28 pm

kids swinging in the suburbs

About a week ago, a friend posted on her Facebook page: “Happy Houseiversary!”

She and her family had been living in their new home for a year (a home that happens to be across the road from my home. Hi, Lori!)

I saw Lori’s post, checked the calendar, and immediately felt shame. Just a week before Lori’s houseiversary, we had a houseiversary, too. It’s just that I hadn’t noticed. I didn’t mention it to my husband, and he didn’t mention it to me. I didn’t post it on Facebook, or give it much thought, at all. In fact, when people ask us how long we’ve been living in our new home, in our new town, we usually mumble, “Uh, a year? About a year? Maybe a little less than a year?” (For the record: one year, three weeks, and five days.)

I’ve blogged on Kveller a bunch about my ambivalence about the suburbs. First I wondered if I was old enough to own a house and then I wondered if the suburbs would make my kids boring. There was a post where I asked, “Will we find people like us?” and one where I tried to instruct readers on how to “close on a house and not freak out.”

Then we actually moved to the house and I blogged about having no friends, about finding a good place for Jewish daycare, and about finding a welcoming synagogue community.

And then, I stopped.

I wish I could say I stopped blogging about the ‘burbs because I’ve “made peace” with our move. I haven’t. Jon and I regularly climb into bed and plot out our next steps. We are not that couple who refers to their home as a “forever house” or intends to stay put for 30 years. The first time I drove to Brooklyn after our move, I cried as I pulled my car down Prospect Park West. I strain to see the city skyline from my street (you can actually see the city skyline from my street!) and I inhale deeply, like an addict, when I get off the subway and step out onto West 4th Street, on my way to work each Monday morning. And we still yearn to live abroad, on a farm, out west, somewhere different.

twins being ridiculously cute

But on the (belated) eve of our houseiversary, I can tell you this: we have a great house, and we’re very lucky to own it. We moved to a dynamic, culturally diverse town with a waterfront and an independent bookstore and a yoga studio that rivals (is better than) my old yoga place in Brooklyn. We have a backyard for the kids and the dog, and we are finally getting around to buying some furniture. There’s space, there’s light, there’s ample free parking.

But none of that matters as much as this one other feature that my house boasts: we live a short 25 minute drive from my mom. And that means that tonight, while Jon works late, instead of putting the kids to bed alone and eating a frozen burrito on the couch, I will pack the girls up and go have Shabbat dinner with her, at her house. I will keep her company and she will keep me company and if the girls play their cards right, we might even sleep over.

It seems that every day there’s another reminder that we have no control over outcomes, that life is unfolding in ways we couldn’t have ever imagined possible. I can’t say that this year has been easy. But I can say a little shehechiyanu, on this occasion of our first houseiversary. I’m grateful for being granted life, for being sustained and for reaching this season.

Shabbat Shalom.

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