Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Mourning a Dream

Don't get me wrong.  I love our new house.  I can't wait to get my hands on it and farmhouseify it and make it ours. July 3rd can't come fast enough!

But I'm also in mourning.  This new house, close to schools and family, and in a lovely neighbourhood, is where our kids will grow up.  And I have to say goodbye to my lifelong dream of raising my kids in the country.  That door is closed.  I'm not sure if I want to push it out of my mind and stop thinking about it or allow myself to grieve.

I spent half my childhood on my best friend's acreage in the country, complete with woods, a pond, and a big garden.  We wore elaborate prairie-girl costumes when we walked miles down the dirt road unashamedly, because there was no one to see.  We picked armfuls of lilacs, and cuddled kittens and sang loudly as we jumped on the trampoline. I learned what cornflower blue really is from the flowers in her mother's garden. I explored the woods on my own, and even lived on a horse farm for two months when I was thirteen.  Even back at home at the very edge of the small city I grew up in, I had country experiences, catching salamanders and frogs in the creek and weaving mats with the cattail reeds.  I always wanted that kind of life for my kids.

I've known for several years that it was unlikely that my husband would ever want to move to the country.  Between the commute to his job downtown and the high price of land around here, there was very little chance that it would happen.  And I thought I had accepted it.  But with a simple signature on a piece of paper that says we're buying this beautiful house in the suburbs—the one our kids will remember when they think of home—has brought back all this longing that I now know will never happen.  It's official now.  I think I really do need to allow myself to feel these emotions and truly mourn this loss, as silly as it may seem to other, more logical people.

   I will never be able to help my kids build a fort in the woods (and then check them for ticks?).

   I will never be able to raise a horse or have chickens or a big vegetable garden (I'm undecided whether I actually want to do all that or just like the idea).

   I will never be able to send my kids outside to play out of sight without that tiny worry in the back of my mind about traffic or kidnappings (but then, I'll also never have to worry about wolves or cougars or a cranky bull moose).

   I will never have a clothesline.

   I will never learn to shoot a bow (at least not without either spending a fortune on club fees or driving an hour to my brother-in-law's acreage).

   I will never be able to watch the sunrise on the horizon from my kitchen window (or any window) before the kids wake up and the day's rush begins.

   I will never be able to build an addition on the house (it has no mudroom.  Just a back door straight into the kitchen, with a closet to the side), or a bigger porch, or a detached studio/office.

   I will never be able to walk out of my house, look up, and see ALL the stars.  I've almost forgotten what that even looks like.

   I will never have an orchard (although I'm pretty excited about the one apple tree in the new backyard).

   I will never have enough flowers in the garden that it doesn't look denuded when I cut a lot to bring in the house. And wildflowers are completely out of the question.

   My kids will never be able to explore the woods and fields at will, or climb trees or have a treehouse, or learn about wildlife because it visits our yard.

Have you ever had to mourn for something that was only a dream?


Sunset at my in-laws' cabin...the place that soothes my longing for natural beauty, even though it's crowded among all the other lakeside cabins.

3 comments:

  1. Never say "never" ... that's a really long time. I too grew up in the country and when I married I moved into town, commuted to the big city, and put on hold "moving back". I'm still in town 27 years later. BUT! My kids had the full country experience despite all of that. My daughter took horseback riding lessons at farms not too far outside of town (and still loves it and takes lessons while at university). We took both our kids camping every summer, and my 17 yr old son still comes with us. My parents did keep the house in the country where I grew up, so my kids also had that experience of playing in the big creek, the woods and the fields. We lived an hour's drive away, but we visited often. There are lots of conservation areas just outside of my town that we frequented continuously with our kids ... they loved it!! Although we brought our kids up in town, there is still a lot of "country" infused in them. Don't despair ... work around what you have now got. It can be done. You can teach your kids a lot about country life even though you don't live there. I hope you do eventually get your place in the country ... and I hope I do too ;) I'm still hoping it will come together in the end. Wendy

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  2. Maybe your next dream could include a piece of countryside by a lake with your very own cabin? Or a nice big tent trailer you can get away from town on weekends in? There are ways! Dreams become plans, and plans become actions, maybe in a couple of years? Meanwhile, you'll be too busy moving and "homing" your lovely new house. Looking forward to coming over for tea once you are settled :) Nanny/Gran-nanny. Love to you all.

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  3. You have a long life ahead of you, and you never know what might come up. Never say never! lol
    Have you called the bylaw office to see if they have lifted the clothesline ban? They are supposedly doing research on urban chicken farming, the results of which are coming out this year. You just might be able to have chickens in your back yard someday! http://www.edmonton.ca/bylaws_licences/bylaws/bylaw-services.aspx

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