We have reached our monetary goals for moving. We have the down payment, and closing costs for the new house we are owner- financing. We are in the process of finding a renter for our current home for the fall, in the event that we are not able to sell it this summer. So, now we are saving money to build up our reserves.
While we are working towards our goals, we have had time to reflect on what has been good about the tough year we have been through. First and foremost, I realized that my marriage is strong. I would say, for me,that the first couple years of our marriage were a little rocky. We had Evan and moved to the country. The first year or so was a little isolating. It took a while to connect with community. It is still something of a challenge when our church, library and open play gym requires a half hour drive. However, I learned to create a rhythm to our days, find adult conversation during the day several times a week, and embraced the work of the life we have chosen. Mark has been very patient with me as I found this balance especially during some very ungraceful moments. As for this year, I have learned to let somethings go. I don't care so much about the underwear on the floor anymore. I am just grateful when he is home. We could use some more time together as a couple. But then, our whole family could use some more time together.
The other very important lesson that we have learned this year is how we manage our money. We have always been pretty frugal but there were some habits, or lack of habits, that meant that we were not really saving any money. Every weekend,now, we sit down and balance the checkbook. We both know how much money is in our accounts. We pay the bills together. We anticipate future expenses so that we can budget better for them without dipping into savings to cover them. I will admit to having some uncomfortable moments with this exercise. After we pay the bills, figure out what we need for gas, food, feed and any other expenses such as car parts or new shoes....well there is not a lot of wiggle room. But then, I realize that we put at least 500 dollars a month into the savings account.
I would say that this is our first big challenge as a family. We still have a way to go before we find ourselves in a place where the only concern we have will be what sort of barn we will be building. But I think our perspective on what is really important has changed. We love the way of living we have chosen but if we had to let it all go, we know that we would still be strong as a family. This is the most important lesson of all.