Three years ago Mr. December and I signed a contract with a builder to completely gut, renovate, and add on to our home. We had done all the due diligence: checked references, compared pricing and contract types, and planned for several years. Still, after we had signed the contract and drunk a toast (the architect brought champagne), everyone went home and I felt a sinking sensation in my chest. I turned to Mr. December and asked,
“What have we done?”
Sixteen years ago, the night before our wedding, I was suddenly anxious. Holy cow, I thought, this is big. This is for life. Am I ready for this? After dating for eight years I was more than ready, but that evening I was very, very nervous.
After a fabulous wedding and honeymoon we came back home to
his our apartment. I moved my stuff in. We went to IKEA, came home, and assembled everything together. It was exactly what I had wanted. But one afternoon I just had a hollow feeling in my chest, and I started to cry.
What have I done? I asked myself.
“What’s wrong?” Mr. December asked.
“I just… I just realized that I miss my mom,” I sobbed. “I miss being in my parents’ house. Playing house here is nice, but I don’t think I’m ready for this. I wanna go home!”
Mr. December, bless his unflappable soul, just hugged me and said, “So spend tomorrow at your parents’ house.”
I did; Then I came home to our apartment and everything felt fine.
This morning we booked a cottage rental for the whole month of September. We’ve adopted a system for large transactions: one of us does the research and makes the arrangements, and the other presses the final “confirm” button to make it happen. It’s a way to take shared responsibility for the outcome (and shared blame in case things don’t go well.) I’m generally the planner; This time I spent at least a month combing through possible cottages, creating spreadsheets and rubrics to weigh their pros and cons. Mr. December and I huddled together at my desk to decide between the two finalists.
“You know,” he pointed out, “Committing to this is basically a commitment to homeschool the kids. It makes no sense to go away for all of September if we want them in school. Are you okay with that?” I thought for a moment, then nodded resolutely.
“Okay,” he said. “Here goes.” He clicked “reserve”… and that was it. Transaction approved, reservations confirmed. Mr. December went back downstairs to get some work done and as I sat at my computer, staring at the screen, I felt the anxiety settle in my chest.
What have we done?
Later I confessed to Mr. December, “I feel like we made the wrong choice. I’ve been feeling anxious ever since we booked the cottage.”
“Me too,” he admitted. “It’s a normal reaction to making a big decision.”
He’s right: it is. So right now I’m listening to my inner voice as it freaks out and tells me that I’ll never have a day alone in a quiet house again; I’m doomed to spend the next year fighting with my kids over things like punctuation; and we’ve clearly done the wrong thing. I’m listening to that voice, and I’m taking a deep breath and thinking, It’s okay. It’s normal to feel this way. We’ll take it as it comes. We’ve planned for this. We’ll be okay.
So that’s it. We’re embarking on a new adventure. We’re homeschooling (and Mr. December is working remotely,) which means we can be pretty much anywhere (COVID permitting): the cottage, Barbados, Israel… anywhere. This feels huge. Epic. Amazing.
Good Lord, what have we done?