My dad grew up poor. His father had skipped out on the family leaving behind his mom and 3 older brothers (interestingly enough, it wasn’t until well into my 20’s I discovered this truth. I was always told my grandfather had died during the Korean War). Though he wasn’t an orphan, my dad (and his brothers) grew up in an orphanage. His mother was able to find work at an orphanage. The orphanage also provided a place for them to live.
One of things he desperately wanted as a kid (that he never got) was a bicycle. So when I came along, he made it a point that I would not grow up without a bike.
When he felt I was old enough for a bike, after saving up, he went out and got me a bike. He’s told me hundreds of times how excited he was for me. He couldn’t wait for me to get home from school and see this bike waiting for me. He wanted to see my face. He couldn’t wait to teach me how to ride that bike.
I, of course, have no recollection of any of this. I came home, my dad excitedly led me to the bike and said, “This is your new bike! What do you think?” He said I looked at the bike, basically said, “cool” and walked inside.
I share this story because to foreshadow my reaction to a milestone in our lives.
I kind of wonder what the next generation would be like when their parents (like myself) walk around saying things like, “Adulting is too hard.” But:
I look at my boy and envy his life. His focus in life is to get a purple dot from school (marking an excellent day) so that he can go to Chuck E. Cheese’s and dance with Chuck E. I can’t overstate this enough: in this season of our lives, his purpose in life is to go see Chuck E. Everything — everything — is oriented around this goal. We’ve been there so many times, they know us by name. We’re Norm up in Chuck’s house. And I tell you what — all these trips to Chuck E. Cheese’s has me acting straight because I’ve tasted what my hell would be like.
Two things happened this week: one yuge, one not so yuge but both significant.
The not so huge thing: I courageously ventured into the DMV and got a Texas driver’s license in turn surrendering my CA license. I have to say — it was surprisingly bittersweet. It was one of the last remnants of California I had left. I think I’m now officially a Texan — at least according to the documents (which probably wouldn’t hurt to carry around on my person… just in case). I had hoped that my Texas driver’s license picture would turn out better than my California one. Nope.
But I was really surprised about the tinge of sadness that crept inside from what I felt was a rather small (and necessary) change. I’d anticipated a sense of relief for being able to leave the DMV some 2 hours later. If Chuck E. Cheese ends up not being my hell, the DMV will.
Yet, there was no denying the blueness of this experience. All the more why I so wanted to keep my CA license, which I couldn’t.
I mean, it’s not like we have any intentions of moving out of Texas any time soon (hold on to this thought) but maybe it was my heart catching up to my head.
That was a Monday.
On Tuesday, we were eating lunch with the entire church staff — celebrating those with birthdays in March. My wife excused herself to answer the phone — which was bit odd. My wife rarely answers the phone when she’s eating.
She came back in, her eyes glistening of tears. She looked at me and said, “They accepted our offer.”
“They accepted our offer!”
“We got the house! They accepted our offer!”
Her voice cracked. Tears were slightly building up in the corner of her eyes.
The staff who overheard were ecstatic.
“You guys bought a house? Congratulations!” So much excitement and joy exuding from everyone all around me.
I just sat there staring off to space trying to let it all sink in. But all I could think about was my dad’s story about my non-reaction to what he thought was the best gift ever. I just didn’t know how to feel. I mean I was excited, yes! But it was all so overwhelming.
It was near the end of a long journey that actually began this time last year as we were preparing for the transition to Houston. With time running out, we settled for a rental. But within the past few months, we’ve been aggressively looking for the past few months with our awesome realtor who made the journey painless, simple, and fun.
On Sunday night, my wife said to me, “I think I found our next house.”
On Monday, we went to see the house and made an offer.
On Tuesday, the offer was accepted.
It was such a whirlwind of… everything.
With my non-reaction dragging on, I felt like I needed to respond to all the joy and congratulations floating around me.
I said the first thing that came in to my mind — forgetting that I really should never say the first thing that comes to mind: Holy s#!t! (At least I declared it holy…?) Not the best thing to say in front of a church staff, I know — or at church. I haven’t been there for a year yet and I feel like the staff already has a lot of dirt on me…
I think being a homeowner officially makes me an adult. I never asked to be an adult.
This whole buying a house thing is like health care — complicated. Who knew it be so complicated? (Okay, it’s not as complicating but I thought the joke was funny…) There’s so many numbers involved. And contrary to the stereotype, I hate numbers and math is not my friend.
It still hasn’t hit me yet. Everything. The driver’s license to the house. I don’t think the excitement of the house will completely kick in until we close and start the process of moving in. I think I’ll be holding my breath until everything is finalized.
As extremely grateful as I am — I find myself envying my six year old whose biggest concerns are, “do we have milk for cereal?” and “Can we go to Chuck E Cheese’s?” How simple life is as a 6 year old.
This long post is just to say:
Can I get an amen?