Friday, September 12, 2008

Right Or Happy?

We went to look at the house in JP. You must understand, when Jeanine and I look at a house, we are the bring the checkbook, hire the Uhaul kinda gals. We decide, quickly, if we like something and then make it happen.

I did not want to move. I do not want to move. I have a gorgeous lap pool, office area that I am in love with. The rest of the house... well, there's boogers stuck to the walls next to the kid's beds, streaks of hand prints down the staircase wall, doors loose from slamming... it's lived in, to say the least.

But I love my office.

Jeanine has, for all the years we've been together, always tried to get us back to Jamaica Plain, where she was living when I met her. She loves JP, as we call it around here, as much as I love my office.

My mode, when faced with something I am not happy about, is to put my foot down and say NO. No debate, no discussion, I pull out my entrenchment shoes and do not move. I don't listen, I don't consider, I simply say no. It comes from not being heard, being pushed into corners and fighting for my dignity as a kid. I get stony cold and simply stop discussing the topic.

This, as you might expect, has caused great problems in our relationship.

Today, I did something different. I was open to the discussion, although I had a fairly firm opinion. I knew that Jeanine has always felt the pull to JP, and here was a chance to look at a spectacular house.

There was not a single aspect to the house that was not wonderful, or did not perfectly fit our needs. Newly renovated, plenty of space and a separate carriage house for Jeanine's studio. Or for her mom if she wanted to come visit for an extended period. Or both.


I have always found it interesting the lack of connection Jeanine feels to the Newton community. I have been here 22 years and I love it. I volunteer to coach the kid's soccer team (not brave enough to take on the baseball crowd), I know the local stores and some of the staff that has been around for a while. When I walk down the street to pick up the kids at school, I wave and chat along the way to neighbors.

Newton, no question, is also losing some of it's soul to McMansion builders who will rip down old Tudor homes they bought for 2 million dollars and replace it with a monstrosity. Nothing to be done about it. As I went to coach my team yesterday, I could pick out three boys who are going to be very difficult- the attitude and privilege grate on my nerves.

I still love it here.

Jamaica Plain, on the other hand, is a funky, diverse section of Boston. It has an enormous LGBT community. There is a pond there where everyone walks and gathers. Great restaurants, public transportation- it's fun. when I worked down there, I always walked to the center, if to do nothing but get a cup of coffee, so I could soak up the life. No McMansions in JP. It is also where Walter and Allan live.

We went to the house. We both looked at each other on the way out, knowing it was perfect and stepped in our separate cars to drive home.

As I made my way, I thought, I have to be open to this. It really is a great house. It could be a great home for us. I could walk the dog around the pond everyday. Jeanine could take public transportation to work. We would be with our people. The kids would be close enough to walk to their dads' house.

I was ready to listen, not from a place of NO but a place of, okay, I can see this but I still have some issues with it.

When I finally made it home, Jeanine said, No. I don't want to move there. It's great, no question, but I want to make this house great like that. I want it to be ours, not someone else's idea of great.

I turned to the witness in the room and told her, she was there to hear this.

I also said, this is it. There isn't going to be a more perfect house- this is it for thinking about JP.

She agreed.

We'll talk tonight. I want to discuss it a bit more before we walk away- it really was that perfect. But I can't help but feel that being willing to consider something deeply important to Jeanine with an open heart made a huge difference. Instead of having to fight back, she could consider all the options.

Think about the entire reality, not just dig in her corner, ready to fight back.

All I keep thinking about was the question my therapist has repeatedly asked me...

Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be happy?

I wasn't right today. I was willing to listen.

And tonight? I'm happy.

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Blogger Seda said...

Sara, that's beautiful. I'm glad. I'm happy, too, happy for you.

There is such value in being open to life, to seeing each other's needs as equally precious as ours. Power, too.

I'm glad.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Ulla said...

That place, JP, sounds great. Your kids are growing up - they'll like to be able to get around by themselves and live in a lively, diverse community.

4:36 AM  
Blogger Suzy said...

I've run out of lines to write your address on in my book.

Looks like a reversal with you two.
Good Luck


7:52 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

LOL suzy, I know, and so many people feel the same way.

sara's moving again?

I don't think so. but ulla is right, JP is an amazing place for the kids to row up in. way more diverse than Newton, that's for sure.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

It's not that I have any stocks in the outcome, but I think the boys would love to hang out with their dads even more as they grow into young men.

3:48 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

no question. they do love hanging out with their dads. and as allan said to me yesterday, "hey, I want you to move to JP. forget about jeanine!"

we are still discussing. nothing is a yes or no. also unlike jeanine and I, we are going to take our time with this. consider for a while. no quick decisions.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous donald said...

i would vote for JP as well, but for selfish reasons. i don't get to see you guys everytime i am down visiting allan and walter. if you were in JP, i would get to see a lot more of you and your family! need help packing? LOL

see you later for dinner, drive carefully!

8:25 AM  
Blogger Sue J said...

If you move to JP, then I can visit when I visit my other friends who already live there. And then maybe I can finally get some lobster out of you people! LOL!

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I vote for JP even if I don't know you at all?


On a more serious note, I am really proud of you for the way you let go of the "being right" thing. My girlfriend and I are still trying to work on things like this, but we haven't even been together for a year yet! It's always good to see that this can be done, though. That things will always need to be worked on, and that there is always room for love.


and good luck deciding!

11:32 AM  

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