I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

11 Apr 2014

Reflections on Happiness, Raising a Family, and Moving

Reflections on Happiness, Raising a Family, and Moving

By Melissa Reyes of MizMeliz.com

My husband and I are selling our home. This is the house where we have been raising our three sons for the past sixteen years. I had a 2 year old and an infant when we moved in. We chose this house because it had everything we wanted and felt that was needed to raise a happy and healthy family. We were blessed with another son while we lived there. Our family was complete. Our home was the perfect place for our little team to grow and thrive.

When we were house hunting I had a list of things that were important to me to find for our new home. I wanted a house in a quiet, friendly neighborhood on a street with no through traffic, like on a cul-de-sac. I wanted the children’s bedrooms to overlook the back yard and be at the rear of the house for safety. I did not want a pool, nor did I ever allow a trampoline in our back yard, for safety reasons. I was looking for something with lots of grass to run on and trees to climb. I wanted lots of space to entertain. Having a fun place to enjoy was important.

I hoped to have a home that faced West to watch the sunsets and avoid the winds that come from the North in our area. I wanted a window over the kitchen sink to look out while preparing dinner. I wanted a house with one level and no stairs, thinking of my aging parents’ safety and comfort as well as the possibility of an earthquake. Safety was very important to me. We lost everything in an earthquake once already.
I got everything I dreamed of when we found our house. It is perfect! It is not a big house. It does not have a lot of amenities or fancy things. It is simple and modest. With just three bedrooms, it has been cramped at times. We like to say it is “cozy.” We have made the most of our situation and have loved living here. Any time I considered what it would be like to move to a larger home or a newer home or a different town, my husband would say, “I don’t want to move, I love it here.”

That was music to my ears! All I want is for my husband and kids to be happy. My husband has always been happy in our home and that is very important! I believe our boys have enjoyed growing up in our home. At one time we were able to do some improvements to our old house. We upgraded the windows. We installed wood laminate flooring. We replaced the patio covering in the backyard and bought new patio furniture. We installed ceiling fans and air conditioners in the living room and bedrooms. We painted inside and out. We replaced the front door with a beautiful oak door (that I talked the painter into painting bright blue!) I love that door. All of these things made this house our home, our domain, our place.

Just like the seasons and the ages, time changes all things. My parents passed on. Our kids grew up. We stopped caring about the upkeep of the house and longed for less responsibility. We had overstuffed this home with a lot of possessions, things, and most importantly – memories. But, it came time to move on. This home is ready for a new family, a new facelift, a new perspective. It’s a quiet place and a lovely place to live. At one time I thought we would continue to live there long after the kids grew up and moved away. I love that most of our neighbors are original owners of their homes from when they were built in 1961. Our retired neighbors have lived there since they raised their families and their children have grown up and moved out. I didn’t think I was ready for that empty nest. I wasn’t ready to settle in. I have adventure and excitement ahead of me. I have always had dreams of moving to another place. I thought this was our “starter” home when we moved in. Why forget about that just because we were comfortable? Our happiness comes from our relationships, our accomplishments, our souls – not the home in which we live.

My husband and I were visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Ventura, California one day. It was a gorgeous, warm and bright day. Their apartment is right on the water in Channel Islands Harbor. Over the years we have spent lots of time in that area. We have always loved it. I have always dreamed of living by the beach. I love the ocean. When we drove away, on our way home, my husband said, “I could live here.”
I was surprised! He was so happy in our little house on our quiet street in the Valley. I didn’t ever think he would want to move. Yet, my heart leapt at the thought! He said, “You have always wanted to live by the beach, would you be happy here?” I fell in love with him again in that moment. “Yes, I could be happy anywhere, as long as I am with you.” I said. Truthfully, he made me so happy at that moment I cried. I have focused on his comfort and joy for the past few decades and I felt the support and concern being returned. I didn’t ask for that. It was natural and graceful.

We can’t move to the beach just yet. We still have roots in our town. The boys are finishing up school and we are not interested in commuting. But we started talking about the benefits of selling our house now and renting in the area. There are many. The idea of renting and being able to move easily when we are ready sounded very good. Also, the fact that we wouldn’t have the weight of the responsibility for the upkeep on our shoulders, not to mention all the expenses and taxes on top of the mortgage payments, sounded really good to us. Since the recession, we don’t have the equity we hoped to have by now. That means that we won’t make any money if we sell. But we don’t think a few years, or even ten years will make a difference. So, the decision was made. This is a good time for us to move on. We talked to the kids about it and they agreed! We are all ready for a change. We are all up for an adventure!

We look forward to the change. We have a new list of things that are important to us now. A pool is at the top of the list. No more worries about our toddlers falling in. We are even okay with stairs. I think of it as a built in stair master! Lord knows I need the exercise. Friends have asked us if we are sad about moving. For some it may seem like we are losing our house or our investment. We do not think of it that way at all. We are living our dreams. We are acting on our word. We are confident in ourselves that we will be happy in a new place. Our family may be living in different places, but our hearts are closer than ever. This was not easy to understand or accept. I cry when I think of being away from our boys. When I wonder about what the next phase of our lives will be, I think it will be bittersweet. My heart is full of love, life, and gratitude. Nothing will ever change that.

When you start to think you are unhappy in your home and you would be happier if you moved, ask yourself if it is the home that doesn’t suit you or if you have grown out of it. Perhaps you are ready for a change. Change can be good. A move can be the best thing just as long as you are confident in yourself that you can be happy anywhere. For it is not the place that makes you happy, it’s you that makes the place a happy home.

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  1. We had this same experience with our started home. We embraced the move to something we never considered before and are so happy here! Good for you!