I wrote once about how much I loved our House. The breezes that float down the hallways, the birds that are constantly chirping outside the very many windows. These things I still very much love; it’s part of this passionate affair that will never die. But now I have mom-vision, and I see so much of this house that I never saw before. The terrible location, with no sidewalks and no streetlamps. Where once I was amazed that owls nested in our trees, now all I notice is the cars that come speeding down the blind corner at all hours of the night. The privacy and quietness of this little offshoot of a street now feels trapped, with no ability to walk anywhere. I go two houses up, two houses down, during daylight hours only. Too far up the street and you hit the drug house with the litter of broken glass and used condoms in the dirt out front. Too far down the street and you hit one of the busiest roads in our little town. Full of car and bicycle traffic, but there seems to be no room for walkers or strollers, or sidewalks of any kind. Thanks to the mountains that we fell in love with, it’s even tough to cross this street – every corner seems to be a blind one. The clientele from the top house always park in front of our mailbox and loiter in the more shadowy parts of our front yard. When we’ve mentioned this to the cops the only response we got was “Oh, yeah, we know that house. It’s fine.” *Move on with your day, lady.* Meanwhile, the house on the other side of us rents out every bedroom to a different family, so we never quite know who is living next door. Between these two houses, the cops are on our street quite often, breaking up fights next door or cruising up and down the full length, very slowly rolling by the parked cars. Once, while sipping my coffee, I saw them unpack full riot gear from an unmarked van and go walking on foot up the hill. This consistent police activity makes me feel either very safe or very not. I’m in my garage a lot, since I have to drive everywhere, for everything. Every once in a while I find myself hurrying to get the door closed quickly at night, like some unconscious part of me thinks I might be robbed at my own threshold. There are good people on this street too, don’t get me wrong. We have wonderful neighbors across the way, and seemingly normal people on the other side of us. But since the baby came along, all I see is the danger of blazed drivers coming far too quickly down our little hill; their reaction time being very, very slow.
It’s the house too, though. Our decks, our wonderful outdoor living spaces – look like enormous fall hazards. Our myriad of hawthorne trees are almost buzzing their own tune they are full of so many happy bees. The staircase – the very heart of our home – is the biggest problem. Winding up an invisible tree, our staircase reaches three stories into the air with ease. The spindly honey oak railing is the only thing that keeps you from a tile floor 25 feet below. It’s not so much teaching her to be careful on the stairs that I worry about – it’s everything else. It’s having friends over whose kids maybe *aren’t* careful on stairs. It’s climbing two flights from the car to the kitchen to bring in groceries with an almost-mobile, squirming baby, and loading her and all her stuff down two flights in order to go out. It’s carrying her up and down the stairs in general; while she’s in our arms she is high above anything that could catch her fall if she were to throw herself out of our sometimes-necessary vice grip. It’s the idea of being pregnant again and doing all of that with a child and a belly, which seems very much impossible.
Because of the huge open staircase, our house is very loud. Noises echo up and down the floors, bouncing off everything like the symphony of life. It never bothered me until I tried to put my baby to bed while my sweet sweet husband decided to cook me dinner, banging pots and pans and making her eyes fly open at every little ting. We have to turn her white noise machine up so loud that sometimes I’m afraid we’ll never be able to get her to sleep in a quiet room again.
To be honest, this house is starting to feel exhausting. Are they all things that might be blown out of proportion due to mom-brain? Yes. Are they all pretty real reasons to at least give a few second thoughts? Yes. So what do you do, when the house you love so much starts to show its ugly side. Do you childproof as best you can and move on with life? Nothing is really all that big an issue, and we live in one of the safest neighborhoods around. Our “neighbors” are really nothing to worry about in the grand scheme of life. Suburban problems are not urban problems in any way.
Or do you bite the bullet and move somewhere less stressful and more accessible? Of course, it would cost more money, that’s a given. Where do you draw that line? When does it become worth the money, the hassle, the craziness of uprooting your life for somewhere new to call home?