Kids are like houses, they’re expensive and you just hope to have them paid off before retirement. Kids are like houses, you only worry about the upfront costs and forget about what maintenance will run. Kids are like houses, they could always use something new. Kids are like houses, you can always trade them in a few years…err, never mind. I promise poorly written similes aren’t where I was heading with this post, but I couldn’t resist. At least it’s not puns, no?
When my wife and I first bought a house after living in an apartment, we got all those cryptic little half-warnings and words of encouragement. Things like “Oh the joys of home ownership”, “A little house goes a long way”, or “Hmm, well, I guess that’s what most people do”. Gee, thanks everyone for the congratulations. I had a general understanding of what they meant but had no idea how right they were without actually saying anything. And it hurts to write that. The biggest issue with the house isn’t typically the sticker price; assuming you’ve got a shred more sense than my wife and I, you have already crunched the numbers and ensure the house is affordable. We thought we ‘under bought’ which is exactly what we wanted as tight finances stress us out to no end. Anyway, back to the biggest issue with a house, which is the extra bedroom you need to buy for Murphy and his Law.
I’m saving our house story for another post (how NOT to buy a house, most likely), so I won’t detail things too closely. Still, the basement flooded, the sink started leaking, the deck collapsed, the A/C went out, the dryer broke (we’ll lump that in), only 1 of our 3 toilets is currently working perfectly, etc. etc. It is just so difficult to forecast and plan on all these little blessings that constantly seem to pop up. Oh, and we’ve had our house less than five years. And this is why I was comparing kids to houses.
I’m up to two daughters, and each has come with ample expenses. My wife and I are so unbelievably cheap that I really thought we could do a good job suppressing costs. And we have. But there’s only so much you can do when a high fever hits. When a birth gets derailed into the NICU. When a forehead cracks on a table base. When a car seat needs replaced. Life just happens. And happens. And happens. And, just when you pull your sanity and finances together for a quick gasp, things come tumbling down again.
I heard something somewhere recently (helpful, I know) about how we should treat each difficult moment of our lives like it was our destiny to be in that moment. That every previous decision guided us here and our reaction will dictate every future course of action. For some reason, this gave me an odd sense of relief and confidence. These Murphy’s Law hiccups really popped my wife and I right in the gizzards; they always occurred at the worst possible moment or when we felt we had been doing everything right we could. But it’s my destiny, no? I was meant to be faced with the worst because I can handle the worst. The only way my destiny is success is facing this adversity now. If every moment of my life led to this, then what more could be done but smile and press on? This thought track has qualified as temporary relief as I type this, but I’m sure I’ll be banging my head against the wall next time my house falls apart or my toddler outgrows her shoes…it’s always something. In the meantime, best of luck that your house doesn’t catch the flu or your child doesn’t need a new roof.