Back in the 90’s, when family sit-coms were all the rage, there was a show on T.V. called Home Improvement. It was huge. If you’ve never heard of it, you either grew up on another planet, or were not lucky enough to be a Generation X’er. Sad for you. You missed out on getting to wear Doc Martins and oversized plaid shirts. It was awesome.
Home Improvement came on T.V. waaaaay back before TiVo and DVR’s were invented. In 1991, you couldn’t just watch a show on Hulu or catch up later on Netflix. Your only option was to watch it when it actually aired on television. When Thursday at 7:00 rolled around, homework was put on hold, dinner dishes were left in the sink, and life stopped for 30 minutes. Unless you remembered to set your VHS machine to record the show. And let’s face it: you had to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to set those things.
Home Improvement was one of those “can’t miss” shows for our family. If I close my eyes right this moment I can still hear my dad cackling with laughter at Tim Allen’s antics.
Anyway- on the show there was this neighbor – Wilson I think – who was always peeking his head over the fence to give Tim advice. On the show, Tim relished in the inexplicable wisdom of his mysterious neighbor. Wilson was wise, he was a great listener. He always knew just the right thing to say when Tim needed him.
We have a neighbor kind of like Wilson in that he likes to poke his head over the fence and give us plenty of advice. But that’s where his similarities to Tim Allen’s friend ends.
I don’t relish our “Wilson”‘s mysterious wisdom. Our “Wilson” doesn’t make me cackle out loud. Our “Wilson” likes to tell us how to take care of our yard and anonymously call City Code Compliance when the grass gets too high. Our “Wilson” likes to brag about himself loudly and often. Our “Wilson” makes it hard to “love thy neighbor”.
While it’s been difficult to love our neighbor over the last 3 years, this week, it became even more difficult. This week, he cornered David while he was trying to mow the grass to give us unsolicited advice about our move. In a few short minutes, he berated our choice of realtor and price of our house listing, and then proceeded to say that homeschooling was kind of pointless since we live in such a great school district, and that I should just go back to work…. because, “Jennifer has lots of marketable skills. I’m sure she’d be an asset to any company.”
Oh, Wilson. You’re such a character.
Maybe it’s just me, but there is a (large) part of me that wants to come off the ropes like a WWF wrestler and put people like Wilson in a choke hold. Thankfully, there’s another part of me that actually remembers what it feels like to receive grace and reminds me that I can be just as big of a pain in the rear as Wilson.
The thing is, he’s right. Not about our realtor choice or the house pricing, but about the school and work thing. I mean, it makes sense that I would just send Avery to the neighborhood school, Charlie to Day Care, and go back to work full time. That is the logical answer. Work harder, make more money, see your kids less, and make sacrifices so that you can stay in a big, pretty house. Wilson wasn’t too far off the grid with his advice. But while that may be the answer for most people, it’s not what God wants our family to do right now.
One of my favorite country song lyrics is: God is great. Beer is good. And people are crazy. Because
a. it’s funny
b. it’s kind of true.
Country music has a way of simplifying even the most complex issues in a few short lines. People are crazy. The thing is, I’m starting to realize that there are people who may think that I am the crazy one.
While I’ve had lots of supportive comments from my equally nutty friends (you know who you are, ya crazy nut balls), there are many others who think that David and I are legitimately and certifiably insane for making the choices we are making. I could choose to get my feelings hurt about that, or I could just admit that they are right. We are weird and we are making totally out of the ordinary, abnormal choices.
Working toward total debt freedom is not normal. Living below your means is strange. Being a stay-at-home-mom is crazy when you could just work. Homeschooling is a little nutty.
When you are not normal, people have a tendency to either avoid you or try to change you, because doing something that’s not normal makes people feel uncomfortable.
After a lifetime of seeking the acceptance of others, I’ll admit that not caring about people’s perceptions is a tough corner for me to turn. It’s hard to do, but I’m getting there.
Until I do, Wilson better keep his head on his side of the fence or this Mommy’s going to go Ninja on a brother.