It's so hard for me to go back to that time. But today I tried because I {ironically} decided to write a post on decisions.

It was early summer - July 2005, I think - and my parents were visiting for the weekend. Not-quite-newlyweds anymore, Ben and I were ready to take the leap from townhome to single-family house. So we toured a new construction neighborhood under development in the area we wanted to move to and were completely sucked in.


Looking back I can't believe how incredibly naive I was.


After touring the exquisite, professionally decorated, top-of-the-line-everything model, we picked out a lot, decided on a floor plan, and signed the contract. All within what felt like less than a week. It all happened so fast. The plan was to start the building process and sell our townhouse the following year before closing on the new home. We qualified for the mortgage easily on account of the salaries our jobs provided in addition to our impeccable credit scores.


When I try to remember what was going through my head at the time, I am dumbfounded. The thought of becoming a mother wasn't even on the periphery of  my vision of our future, other than the fact that this house had four bedrooms. And yet, I knew we wanted to start a family. So I imagine myself screaming at my young self: "Why aren't you thinking about your future, you idiot?! Why??? Don't let yourself get caught up in this idealistic vision of suburban life! You are still going to have to commute into the city - are you NUTS?"


I think about this choice we made early into our marriage often because I now drive past this neighborhood where we almost lived, four times a week. It's on the route to church and our son's preschool. The only answer I have is that I wasn't thinking about my future in that moment of excitement over buying a new house. I wasn't thinking about how someday I would want to have babies with my loving husband. How I envisioned taking long maternity leaves after the births of the two children I wanted to have so that I could ease into the adjustment period of becoming a mother. How maybe I’d even like to be a Stay-at-Home Mom until they were in school full-time. I wasn't thinking about the fact that this house would be a little out of reach for us financially when we started having kids. Our future life as parents just wasn't something playing in my mind at that moment of deciding to build a new home.


So, yeah. Turns out I was a little nuts. Figuratively and then, literally. Succumbing to the {mostly self-inflicted} intense pressure I was putting on myself at work to earn the money I knew we needed for that big, fancy house we were building, I suffered my first manic break five months after making that decision to build. A chemical imbalance in my brain was the other culprit.


It was the mental breakdown which opened my eyes to my true dream of my future: a happy, healthy family. Big house, small house, that wasn't all that important to me anymore. It wasn’t until then that I realized we had made a mistake by deciding to build a money-pit house in a Country Club community. It was too late. The house was under construction. The frame was going up, rooms were taking shape. The nails were being driven into the wood and with each blow of the hammer I crawled deeper into my pit of despair.


Why did I allow myself to make this bad decision? How could I be so stupid and ignorant?


What I didn’t realize back then is that life is one big mess of choices. I know this now. Decisions we make today will impact our future, whether we like it or not. My dad always tried to instill this into my brother and I as we were growing up, but for me, it wasn’t until many years later would I begin to understand what he was so fervently working to teach us.


Today, I marvel at a decision that almost was for us. After coming out of the hospital and focusing on my health, we were able to manage to withdraw from the building contract and only lost our deposit. It was only money. My well-being was far more important to us than the biggest check we had ever written. We ended up staying in our townhouse a little longer and when the time was right we found our 'forever house', as my friend likes to call it, in the same town as that home we were building. I can now look upon the house-decision experience as an invaluable life lesson in learning to really slow down and take my time with big, important choices in life. And the little ones too, for that matter.


Because you never know how a decision may impact your life. That’s the beauty in the choices we make each and every day.

Happy Friday, my friends. Thank you for making the decision to read my blog. I really appreciate you.