I house / kid sat this past week for my step-cousins in Nahant and spent a decent amount of time with each of the three great boys one on one... Damon, one of the 12 year old twins, and I went for a walk with their golden doodle, Lucy (Drew had a complete love affair with her and kept trying to rip off her tail) a couple times Damon made a comment on our walks that someone was "living the dream"... One person I'm pretty sure was a homeless person riding his bike and I'm totally blanking on who his other random choice was for someone "living the dream"... Regardless, after a week of staying in their enormous home, where from nearly every window you could see the ocean (side note: ways to know if your home is large: you have a ballroom and you refer to a location in your house by what "wing" it is in, both were the case here). Here is the amazing house, I haven't asked them if I could post any of the inside so I'm not going to....
Nearly every day I had to pack up our stuff (Drew has an unbelievable amount of "gear") and drive nearly the hour home for some sort of appointment, it got old but let me tell you, I loved playing soccer mom. I loved picking the boys up at XC and checking in about their day. I had a blast cooking dinner, watching Drew zoom around the kitchen in his walker, drinking a glass of wine and looking out at the waves crashing on the rocks. I loved bringing Turner all the way to The Salem Army Store for him to buy a $2 bandana. All in all it was a great week. But I missed home, and probably the biggest reason I missed home was because Drew did. He wasn't at home and he knew it, and that made it harder on his mom.
I'm one of those unfortunate people who compares what I have to what others have... And I hate that about myself... there is this great quote I found on Pinterest that says 'Comparison is the thief of joy'... how true. But it was great to spend time in a gorgeous and huge oceanfront home and realize, that like Damon says, I am living the dream. I am living in a small house that needs tons of work, but its our small house. We live a mile and a half from the ocean but not right on it, and I savor that walk downtown... It gives me a chance to be nosy and check on my favorite houses :), and besides, Drew almost always falls asleep on those walks (another sign I'm living the dream).
In my dreams I envisioned my husband and I getting along fabulously. We don't, at least not 100% of the time. Sometimes we go for hours being ridiculous and giving each other the silent treatment (mmhmmm we are really mature). But we've come a long way from our fights at the beginning of our marriage (yes, two whole years ago :)). We know how to fight a little bit better now, and how to make up so we each feel heard. You know what I guess I forgot to envision in my dreams? I forgot to think about us laughing long and hard together about inside jokes (like how at the first house we flipped our next door neighbor could never remember AJ's name so she called him BJ or DJ nearly every time and she called me Jenna for months). I forgot to think about us looking over at each other to make sure the other person is laughing (yes, AJ always makes sure I'm laughing at his jokes). And I forgot to envision a marriage of grace where,when the other person is driving you crazy, you can say to them, "I love you, but you drive me crazy" (we say this to each other on a very regular basis).... for some reason it's theraputic and more real to say this instead of just "I love you."
So you know what, Damon? I, and that random homeless man you pointed out, am living the dream. I'm fixing up a house I love with a baby who kisses me so much he bites me, and I've got a husband that I'm crazy about even though he makes me crazy. I am able to stay home with Drew and pick up private event planning jobs. We have rental properties with interesting tenants (and sometimes diva-ish, need I say more?). Maybe someday we will be fortunate enough to have a house on the ocean, but you know what? If it never happens I won't be too upset... what I have is great.
I'm working tonight (I wrote this last Thursday) on a private movie screening at CinemaSalem; the hot chocolate I ordered at the beginning of the night had a handwritten phrase, by the barista, that said "there is no place like home". How did she know that I was thinking the same thing this night I came home from a fabulous house-sitting gig?
Update: I've posted some photos of Nahant in my most recent blog post.