Our new home (and how a pandemic changed my view of home).

2020 has been a wild year. I don’t think anyone needs that explained to them. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the United States in March, all of my favorite activities went away in a heartbeat. Major League Baseball? Suspended. Poker games in Vegas? Shut down. Live concerts? Don’t even think about it. Dropping the kids off periodically at day care to spend the day in Kansas City? You gotta be kidding.

I became a little depressed. It was pretty cold in Missouri still, and the winter always puts me in a foul mood anyway. And suddenly, as a stay-at-home Chad Dad, I was stuck at home with the girls 24/7. As we sorted out how to navigate a global pandemic in a small town, I didn’t feel comfortable yet taking them to the store or to the park. We stayed home. All the time. March and April felt like they lasted a year each.

When May arrived, the weather improved, and I decided I was going to improve, too. I bought a bicycle and started a new hobby, cycling. I was out and about every day in the fresh air. My Father’s Day present was a bike trailer so I could carry the girls with me. We take a small bluetooth speaker with us and blast Frozen and Trolls songs as we roll along. They love it.

I also pushed forward with my hobby of photography, taking portraits of the girls almost every day. I also captured a sweet shot of Comet NEOWISE, and I was able to photograph a few events in Clinton.

Mostly, I realized how lucky I was to be able to work from home with our income mostly intact, thanks to an amazing wife who works her tail off. We had it so much better than most people, and for that I’m grateful.

It sounds cheesy, I know. But all the time at home gave me a renewed perspective on what’s most important, and that is my family. I used to spend much of my family time just looking forward to the next time I could escape to a concert or a poker game. When those hobbies evaporated, I realized I can live my life just fine without them. What I can’t live without is my family.

In July, we heard through the grapevine that a beautiful home in Clinton was about to hit the market. It happens to be next door to my good friend, Ben. So he arranged with his neighbor for us to have a sneak peak. We had not necessarily been in the market for a new home. But we figured it wouldn’t hurt to just look. So we did, and by the time we got back home, we knew we had to have it. We had a contract within a couple of days.

The way I’ve tried to explain this move to friends and family is that I certainly LIKE the home we had for six years. It was big and beautiful and we could have lived there forever. It will be perfect for some family out there (maybe yours?). But I LOVE the home we have now. It just hits different when I pull in the driveway and walk in the door. It feels like home. And I spend a huge share of my life at home, pandemic or no pandemic, so home is everything.

The house has a pretty sweet treehouse for the girls to play in, and a trampoline dug into the ground. My favorite thing though, is that it has a more suburban feel on a cul-de-sac. It feels like what I grew up with, and what I want my daughters to grow up with.

I still don’t know when I’ll be able to go to a ball game or see a band play, but it really doesn’t matter. Catch me instead on my new back porch enjoying a cold one while the girls run wild.

Now excuse me, because we have some boxes to unpack.