Yesterday we went to hold the new nephew. He is adorable, the image of his big brother, who is adorable as well. We visited with my sister-in-law, and then headed for home.
Tim has been taken with a huge house that a prominent family lived in when he was growing up in his small town. He stopped on the way home to look at it.
We looked at it, with all of its structural details and the extensive stone work. We peeked in the big bay window and saw beautiful molding and wall paper, a gorgeous fireplace. Window seats on both sides of the big room. But the fact of it is that the house is decrepit and crumbling. Tim's right. It WAS a beautiful house in its day, but it has been left to molder and decay.
"No," I said, and I meant it. Too much work. That husband of mine will work himself into an early grave. My vote was no. We did not need this house. No. He did not need yet another project.
Tim seemed a little cross at me. I couldn't understand it, not really. We generally decide these things jointly, although Tim will discuss things until I am just tired of hearing about it and tell him to 'just get on and do what he's going to do, but for the love of God, PLEASE stop talking about it.' It wasn't like that this time. He didn't talk the thing to death. He snapped a little. "I just wanted to look at it. If it's not a good deal, it's not a good deal. I just wanted to look at it."
I tried to figure out what was happening here. Sounded like he'd come to the realization that the house was not something he'd want to tackle. Evidently, we were of one opinion there. There was something else niggling at him.
I rode along on the passenger side, looking out the window, pondering this. I wondered what it was like to be Tim, as a boy, looking, oh, not enviously, I don't suppose, because he is a preacher's son, and he doesn't envy, but looking at 'the haves' from the position of 'the have nots,' maybe wondering what it was like to have that big house, to live in a house like that... Suddenly, I thought I had it all figured out.
I looked over. "Tim?" I asked. "You do realize that you have surpassed anything that you may have dreamed about as a boy." He looked at me and he did not understand. I tried to explain. We are extraordinarily blessed people. If he was wanting that house as some sort of inner sign that he 'has made it,' to own such a house, well, we have made it. He doesn't need that beautiful (but moldering) old mansion to prove it. We have made it.
We are not rich, but we are assembling all the pieces so that we will live comfortably, and independently, and it is happening far more quickly than either one of us had ever reckoned on. How far we've come in 13 years of marriage. I don't think either of us ever expected such a thing. Tim looked at me. He understands that we have made it, he said.
I tried one final time. "Well, I was just thinking that maybe you wanted that house because it would make you feel successful, and I just wanted you to know that you are successful. I didn't want you to buy that house because it symbolized your boyhood daydreaming."
He cleared his throat. "It doesn't," he said. "I don't remember what I dreamed for back then. I don't think I did."
Somehow, that seemed even sadder to me.
We rode along in silence once more.
It did occur to me. I thought of Tim's excitement over the new house. He'd dragged me out in the street to see what it looked like a night, all lit up. We stood in the middle of the brick street holding hands and looking at our house. He has plans for after I graduate. He's chock a block full of ideas and plans. Tim the boy may not have had dreams, but Tim the man has plenty of them.