I had an epiphany last Sunday after yoga class. We had been pulled over by the police in a mostly immigrant, low income Latino area, nearby to a day labor center. Mari was driving and apparently the inspection on my car was expired, for four months! yup. I had been driving the car for four months past inspection through that same neighborhood almost everyday, but the one day that he is driving we get pulled over. go figure.
So he did not have his license and neither did I. We had jumped in the car to go to the gym, rushing out the door to catch a 9am class.
The police gave him a really hard time and he was super nervous. They kept accusing him of trying to lie to them when he was misspoken and confused. They were disrespectful to us, and Mari just didn't seem capable of diffusing the situation. Everything that he said seemed to fuel them more, and it also seemed like they liked that. Poor LittleMan was in the car trying to get out, "I want to go see daddy."
I learned a long time ago that the best way to deal with the police is to be very apologetic and respectful, give a detailed explanation of the reasons for your infraction and be as honest as possible. The more you tell them about your life and situation, the more they will sympathize with you and your perspective. Doing what they ask and staying calm and collected is the best way to handle the situation and get out without a fight. Unfortunately the police seemed to be having much more fun interrogating Mari than dealing with me and the couple times that I tried to chime in and interject - opened up the: "I'm not speaking with you, I asked him a question, I need you to be quiet miss"
Finally they gave us our court dates and left.
I was so rattled by the experience that I didn't want to get back in the car again. I was also disappointed with the way that Mari had handled the situation, even though I knew that he was not familiar with the US police protocol.
We had been on our way to lunch, but I lost my appetite. All I could think to do was walk, walk away from the vehicle that had brought disruption to our lives. Walk away from the scene of the disturbance and the evil parking lot where it all went down. So I started walking with the baby in my arms. It was a beautiful day and we walked a little over four miles home together. The kids got tired after about half a mile, so we carried them. Half way home we stopped at Chipotle for lunch. It turned into a nice, and tiring!, family excursion. I kept trying to mentally place myself in the mountains on a hike; imagining this being our first family journey through Shenandoah.
So during this urban trekking experience we passed a homeless community of tents in a tree grove on the side of the parkway. I had driven past it countless times. No one was there at the time. But it did get me thinking about how I almost envied the lives off the people near us living off of so little. How is that with our 100K plus income I feel so trapped? What is the point in that?
The simple activity of walking with the family - stopping occasionally to talk about the flowers, trees, and cars - brought so much clarity and freedom to life. I don't need to work, I decided. I need to focus on creating a future for my kids and teaching them about life on my terms. If we can't pay for our house, then so be it. We can loose the house and rent in a location that we can afford. I don't want to be a slave to my preconceived notion of family. I feel like that is how this whole 'working full time in IT' thing happened. My mom worked full time and I grew up thinking that is what I am supposed to do, and I am a bad feminist if I do otherwise. I feel like I'm being selfish or lazy for yearning to stay home and play with the kids. But, as the years of my children's lives pass I realize how much we will all gain from more time together. We could explore the wonders of the world together. Life is not getting any shorter and if I died tomorrow I would die regretting that I had not stayed home more with the kids.
So luckily, amidst this realization, came the convenient situation that we can probably afford to keep the house even if I turn part time. My new job pays much better than the one I had when we bought the house, and we are moving to mom's place and renting our home for a couple hundred more than we are paying mom in rent.
This probably means no more international vacations...sigh... No more nights eating out...sigh... No more chiropractor visits...sigh... But, I need this, I really do need this to feel like I am living in a world and not living in an office.
There are a few problems that I need to work out. Like, I don't actually know anyone in my company who works part time, so I'm not sure if that is even an option. And, we have three open job reqs right now so it is not exactly a very responsible time for me to suggest cutting my hours. But, I will start looking into these things, and maybe in a month or two I will get the courage to pop the question.