March 29, 2009

The "Home" Dilemma

We're constantly thankful for the good fortune in our lives. We're healthy, employed, and loved. We get to live in a village in the middle of nowhere where Ash can run around with horses and goats and chat it up with the hippies at the local coffee shop (for any South Park watchers out there "Mayor West" is a character based on our Town Mayor - just to connect some dots regarding our surroundings). Then we get to live in the city, not quite as often but we're working on that, where Ash can run around with 11 million of his closest friends and chat it up with civil rights leaders at the BBQ joint around the corner (and where there are 2 other adoptive families of Ethiopian children on our block as well as one family where the parents are native Ethiopians and THEY ONLY SPEAK AMHARIC in the home with their children - again, just to connect some dots regarding our surroundings). So which do we call "home"?

Therein lies the problem.

Eventually we need to make a decision that is going to all but solve that very question. Ash will eventually start school, which will demand our residence in one location Monday - Friday until he's 18 years old - and if that location is NOT our Village then do we sell the house? Or, if that location is not our City then do we give up our apartment share? Or, do we grasp on to both for as long as we possibly can and just let reality sort itself out? Nope, not in this case. In ANY other case that would be fine, but this one directly involves one of the biggest decisions we'll make as parents. The one that decides where Ash goes to school and spends his formative years developing his sense of self, his sense of others, and his sense of us as a family. And when I think about that I can't possibly imagine NOT shifting gears and abandoning our Village all together and heading to our City to return to being full timers. But then I consider all we'll give up ($3000 in our Village buys you a 7 acre stone home 1760's estate, $3000 in our city buys you a 2BR and if you're lucky, a functioning intercom system so that you don't have to walk down 5 flights of stairs to let the sushi delivery man in), and I'm stuck.

As much as it may look like it, this is not about our Village and our City and where WE should be. It's about where we need to plan for Ash to spend most of his time, and we're struggling with that. Diversity versus open space. A truly progressive hippie community versus access to nearly every cultural group possible. Apple picking versus subway riding. A yard with a garden versus the Union Square Farmers Market. All white with a little bit of black versus Ethiopian neighbors, and multiple Ethiopian communities within several subway stops from our "home". And it's that last one that gets me.

Wherever we eventually decide to call "home" will surely be the result of endless nights pondering one versus the other, but thankfully Ash is a few years (but JUST a few years) away from starting school so we have some time - at least a little bit - when we can simply call home "NY". If it isn't already glaringly obvious, I'm missing being a full time city rat big time and am just about ready to hang up my country mouse hat... but just when I think I've got it all sorted out I remember my hammock on the front porch, Ash picking tomatoes from our garden, and waking up to say good morning to the horsies. But honestly, right now, I'd trade all of that in a heartbeat for a 2BR walkup with a roach problem. Well, maybe the city itch hasn't gotten quite that bad, but it's getting there, and by the time Ash reaches school-age I'm afraid it's going to be one gigantic pink spot smack-dab in the middle of my forehead.


Meg DeZutti said...

Sorry -- but this is a no-brainer. Ash's home is with you & Mike. That's it. No matter the geographical location. That doesn't matter. He will be just as happy going to school in the city as he would in the village. Ash is a happy kid. You have built an amazing life for him because of the people you & Mike are (and your parents, friends/ exended family.) Home is whereever the 3 of you are together, whether it's a posh apt on 42nd street, or an RV, traveling the nation while you home school. All that matters is that the three of you are together, and you are loving life.

Wait -- I don't know if I just made any decision easier or harder. Okay...just ignore my unhelpful comments.

stephanie said...

Oy. This is a real tough one. I don't profess to be any type of expert on the topic but I can tell you about my life experience. It goes a little something like this.

I grew up in a lillier than white village that had only two Black kids in my public school throughout my 12 years of education. They were adopted by white parents; therefore, they weren't even exposed to Black role models at home. The older boy was given the name Sambo (as in Little Black Sambo) by his classmates and everyone was okay with that (???!!!). I could not wait until I graduated so I could get the hell out of that village to experience the real world. I also learned later on how much my two Black classmates resented living in that village and attending that school.

We live in the burbs and are fortunate there is diversity (more Asian than Black but being that Usher and Toni Braxton are in our school district, it's more appealing ;) ). However, I still struggle about not living intown which offers a much greater diversity plus Ethiopian diversity on top of it.

I'm sorry you have to make this decision but I know that if you stay in your village, Ash will continue to be exposed to all that the city offers.

Stacie said...

We're struggling with the exact same question. We have a potential, out of the blue buyer for our home (in this awful market!) and have the opportunity to move, but are so confused on where? Our city is HIGHLY segregated, so we're either moving to another mostly-white area with great schools, or to the city where we'll send our kids to private schools anyway...


I knew we would have to think about this, I just didn't know it would be so hard to try to make the best decision possible that could greatly affect our children's well-being and self-esteem, education, etc.

Anyway... I'll go back to the house listings now. :)

Gamma! said...

My thoughts . . . see Meg's entry above! Why couldn't I put my words together like she does? The old adage "home is where the heart is" always trumps any other logic, and home for Ash is with you - you're family, whereever that may take you. Much love always, mom/gamma

Anonymous said...

I love Meg's comments. A house is a building, home is where you are loved and love others. It's obvious that there is a serious three-way lovefest going on in your home. When you travel to other places, you bring that love and bonding along with you. Ash is being exposed to a vast number of different places that the rest of us can only hope to see before we pass on. Like a turtle, you are carrying your home around with you. Yes, there are advantages to every place you live as well as disadvantages. But the bottom line is that you are all happy and well-adjusted and crazy caring about each other. Love, Carol McG

courtney rose said...

Great advice (see all above)!

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