I want to move, again.
This fall, Ashes will be heading off to college. That means she'll really only be living at the apartment maybe four months out of the year. When that happens, it doesn't make much sense for her to keep the bedroom she has: some of you may recall that she currently has the biggest bedroom in the apartment, while Corb and I have the smaller "official" second bedroom. For Theo, we took the kitchen, built a free-standing wall, and cut it in half, so that he has a small bedroom that opens up onto the deck (it's pretty cool, actually).
Oh, and to complicate things further, when the kids sleep over every other night, I sleep on the couch. I know, I know, that's insane. Don't lecture me about it, please. It's just the way things have worked all these years. It's a thin veil of illusion that can't possibly fool anyone, but it is what it is and that's all there is to it.
How long can that go on? Short answer: it can't and it won't. This June, it all changes. First off, I stop sleeping on the couch and then, when Ashes moves to college, the sleeping arrangements change, further. Either Corb and I move into Ashes' bedroom and Theo moves into the official second bedroom, or...
Or, we go with my idea. Which is, we move.
Not anywhere far or anything. We'll still stay in Eldredge. We won't be moving anywhere significant until Theo graduates from high school. At that point, we are seriously considering moving to a warmer area. I'm sick of New England weather, and I think a change of pace might be kind of fun.
What I'm thinking is that a different sort of place might be better suited to our life.
During the crisis two years ago, as we were looking for another place to live, we looked into a townhouse that really caught my eye. It was a bit more expensive than where we live now, but still affordable. What I liked about it is that it had essentially four levels: an attic with a skylight, a third floor with two large bedrooms, a second floor living area, and a basement with a finished area.
I think this would be perfect for us. I could use the attic as the study I've always wanted, Corb and I could stay in one of the bedrooms on the third floor, and Theo could take the other one. And, when Ashes is home from school. she could live in the finished area in the cellar. That would give her a bit more autonomy, I think, and allow her to come and go as she pleases. That would be a good thing.
Of course, when I brought the idea up today to the kids, it was not greeted with the universal acclaim I thought it would receive. Ashes, always one to hate change, immediately was against it. "You guys are all looking to shove me to one side!" she said, meaning also that Josie was going to move her bedroom to the smaller room, to actually give Theo the biggest bedroom upstairs.
Then she stormed out of the room.
"I thought it would give you more independence," I said, a few minutes later, moving up to speak with her.
"What independence?" she asked, gloomily. "I don't have a job, I don't drive, and I don't have any friends. Chances are I'm not going to have any friends in college. People just don't like me. I haven't been to one single party in high school, in case you haven't noticed. Now, you're all kicking me out."
"We're not kicking you out," I said. "I want you to be more independent. I want you to drive."
She made a face. "Yeah, that's going real well, isn't it?"
I flinched, recalling that Josie had taken over the driving duties...and apparently, things haven't been going well. She had last asked Ashes to drive two weeks ago, and Ashes had a panic attack and refused.
"Look, if you don't want to be in the basement, fine. Theo can have that. I just wanted to offer it to you, first." I sat next to her on the bed. "I'm really not the enemy here, you know."
"Can't I just commute to college?" she asked.
And then I got it. Ah, that's what all this is about. Fear of the future. Fear of what these changes are going to be like. Fear of failure, since she feels as if she's already seen so many failures already.
It's good to be aware of this, I think, but I don't think it destroys my dream idea. I will have this, and Ashes will get what she wants, too. It may not be easy on either end, and it make take a lot of searching and maybe a few tears and angry fights. But I think that 2012 is going to be a year of transition, and the worst thing that both of us could do is to stand still and not change. That would be a failure, in my book. I want all of us to move beyond that.