Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fact vs. Truth

Wow. You guys made it so easy for me. One entrant, one winner. Congratulations, Lara! Thanks for your story. I hope you enjoy this book. I'll be in touch with you to arrange a time I can get the book to you.


The fact is - there are a few life-altering portions of my and Hubby's life that we can owe directly to Sweetie's existence. 

Okay, okay - I do realize that's true for any parents. Of course.

But I imagine (or at least I'd like to believe) that the majority of parents out there would admit that their lives - and I'm talking solely tangible/lifestyle aspects of their lives - have substantially improved since the creation of a larger family.

But I'm here to admit for myself (NOTE: only for myself) that some very major things that are/were not so great at all can be attributed directly back to Sweetie's existence.

The fact is: I would not have the chronic back pain I have - and have had for 6 years now - had I not carried Sweetie for 9 months (okay - just over 8 months) before she was born. My back pain did not start while I was pregnant. Rather it seemed to kick in about 6 months after she was born. I imagine the pregnancy itself, combined with the constant lifting of an ever-increasingly heavy baby worked together to do me in. Now, finally - FINALLY - I think my back is slowing feeling better. I can now walk through a small grocery store, without my back brace, and possibly get out of there without my left thigh going numb and without terrible lower back pain. But not every single time, that's for sure.

The fact is: I would not have had to have a hysterectomy had I not had Sweetie. If I had no biological children, then all my "parts" would have - I can only logically presume - stayed in place, stayed strong, and never given me any major troubles whatsoever. But I did have Sweetie, which weakened my muscles, prolapsed my uterus, and made a hysterectomy essential. (Note: at the time of my hysterectomy, I could find no actual proof that women with spina bifida were more likely than typical women to have a prolapsed uterus after pregnancy. But now, I do believe that documented studies have shown this to be true). 

The fact is: Had I not had Sweetie, I would be a much more well-rested person than I am today. I can count on one hand the number of times since Sweetie's birth that I have slept past 8 a.m. And even on a regular basis, 8 a.m. is a complete luxury - it's usually 7 a.m. Of course, when she was an infant and toddler there was no way for me to bargain with her at all. So whenever she woke up, I was up. Early. It's only been recently that we've gotten Sweetie to stay in her room until 8 a.m. on the weekends. But even then, she has plenty of those days when she just cannot wait until 8 a.m. and she whines for me to please get up because she's bored. Which I do. All the time. It's always me. Hubby has never, ever been the one to get up with her. Actually, I think on my first Mother's Day he did. But I could still hear them downstairs and I couldn't fall back asleep. So I got up too. Mother guilt. Yep - of course I've gained that as well since Sweetie's birth. 

The fact is: Had I not wanted to have a baby in the first place, Hubby and I would have not been so quick to move out of our small apartment and buy a house. A house big enough for two kids - the number of kids we hoped to have. But we did. We wanted to have our first child before I turned 30, which was fast approaching. And I insisted that we could not have a baby in that apartment. Starting a family equalled buying a house. Before we really should have done so, on a financial basis. 

Now - eight years after buying this house - we are still nowhere near getting our debts paid off. For eight+ years, I've pretty much done nothing but stew over our financial troubles. Constantly at the forefront of my mind. My biggest concern for our family. Oh how I'd love to think about other things instead!

Not to mention that we are not having two kids now. I more or less decided that anyway, even before my hysterectomy. Both for financial reason and because, at that time, my back was beginning to cause me serious trouble. But obviously, the hysterectomy made the ultimate, concrete decision for us. No more kids beyond Sweetie.

Yet here we are in this big house, big enough for us to have a larger family. But the fact is - it's too big for just the three of us. We do not need all this space. We cannot afford all this space. 

We are looking into moving. Not far - just to a rentable apartment or small condo to rent. Our mortgage is going up because of taxes. As I said, we're nowhere near seeing the light at the end of our debt.  We don't need this much space! I know I'll eventually need to live in a one-floor living space to more easily get around - sooner rather than later would be nice. We just need to do this. Moving.

The thing is, of course - this terrible economy. Hubby and I talked about moving last night. He is in 100% agreement with me. We need to move. He has no strong emotion about staying in this house. He absolutely sees how, financially speaking, moving would be beneficial to our situation. But - first we need to find out how much a realtor feels we could get for our house. Two summers ago we had a realtor come over to assess. At that time, had we sold, we very likely would have made a hefty profit on the house. But now - who knows if we'd make a profit at all. We still owe a lot on the house. We can't not make a profit. So I suppose the answer truly lies with what the current realtor honestly thinks. If she thinks we can sell it for more than we owe, then we go forward for sure. If not - well... I guess we wait. 

The other part of this is - we'd really rather not have to make any major changes or improvements to the house before selling. I'd really love to list it as "as-is". Hubby can tidy simple, more easily attainable improvements, of course. But nothing at all major. I'd rather not, and Hubby would certainly rather not. As he said - he completely agrees that selling is the thing we need to do. It's just that he does not at all relish the though of doing what it'll take to get the house in sellable condition.

If we don't fix it up, people will be less likely to buy it. But if we do fix it up, it could more likely sell for more money. But just doing the fixes will take quite awhile - I say, the sooner we get out of here, the better. And, anyway, making the fixes only ads to our existing debt - until we sell, of course, and can then pay it off.

Anyway, we've got a call to make. Get a realtor in here as soon as we can to assess our house. Who is really buying houses in this economy? How long does she honestly think it will take to find a buyer? Does she think we should go ahead with it now, or wait 6 months to a year or more? What should we do.

So - back to the point of this post... the fact is, some really not so great things have come about for me and Hubby because of our desire to have Sweetie and, after her arrival, because of her existence.

However - the truth of the matter is - I would not change a single bit of all that if doing so would mean I didn't have my Sweetie. 

My back hurts, yes. But I do not let my thoughts consume me about how my pregnancy and life as a young mom "ruined" my body. I don't think about it at all. Honestly. Of course, for this post I've indeed laid it all out. But let this not mislead you into thinking I'm constantly "blaming" Sweetie for any of it. Not in the least. It just doesn't equate in my mind.

I'm tired, of course. But who's to say that as I got older I wouldn't have naturally started waking up earlier anyway? I suppose I could say that at least without a child I'd have more of the luxury of deciding to stay in bed on occasion. But I'd still have a job to get up for. I'd still have household duties to keep me busy. I probably would get up anyway. But life as it is -  I really do love getting up in the morning with Sweetie. I love cuddling on the couch with her as she drinks her milk or orange juice and eats her breakfast bar or other breakfast treats. Sweetie gives me a wonderful reason to get up in the morning. So much nicer to get up to Sweetie's exurberance and cuddles than for laundry and dishes - that's for sure.

And yes, we likely would not be in such a financially stagnant situation if we'd never moved into a house before we should have. I'd like to think that Hubby and I would have been in a house by now anyway. But after waiting a longer time. After doing things financially responsibly. After taking our time and doing it right - with a smaller, cuter, newer house in the end. 

But we did. We bought this house. I love(d) this house! At the time, it was so very much the right home for us in which to start our growing family. We could see our future in this house. We could see our growing family in this house. At the time, it was exactly what we needed. 

And for what we could see in the house at the time we found it - I am forever thankful. I have no regrets. For that, I do not look at what this house has done to us because of Sweetie, but what this house allowed us to do to make room for Sweetie in our lives.

The truth of the matter is - life can suck. Unpleasant things happen to everyone. No one thinks their life is perfect. Everyone wishes they had more money, more sleep, less pain, etc., etc... But - for me - I know I'd do it all again, adding on 1000+ less-than-wonderful aspects of my life, just to have my sweet girl in my life. Our outward tangibles may not be so hot. But because of Sweetie, I know I am a stronger person. I am a more defined person. I am a better person because of her. She is my life and my love.

And that, right there - that's the truth.

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