Thursday, October 3, 2013

What's been on my mind....

It was a little over 10 years ago that The Man and I discovered we were going to be parents. Well, not me. I already was a parent to Bug and Munchkin. The Man, however, was just getting his feet wet when it came to dealing with kids.

It was early February 2003 when I took a home pregnancy test that I was positive was going to come up negative. I had an IUD put in shortly after Munchkin was born and had full faith in it's abilities. Maybe that's where my faith went to die?

So after that little pink line showed up bright and clear and I shocked The Man with the news that he was going to be a real, bonafide, biological dad - we set about making a plan.

The first part of that plan was that we needed a house. A big one. So we started looking and found that we could get a lot more house in our price range if we bought in the boonies. So that's what we did.

I remember so clearly when we decided on the house we eventually bought. The Man loved it because you couldn't see it from the road and I loved it because it had a great big back porch (that we never use) and hardwood floors and a fireplace (that we also never use).  The first time we decided to drive out to see it without our realtor, just by ourselves, we drove and drove and drove and looked at each other with one of those looks like "What the hell are we thinking buying a house this far out in the boonies?!"

A lot of people wouldn't have even considered it the boonies, either, but to The Man and I it certainly was. We had a small plaza right up the road complete with a Winn Dixie and a pizza place. Our road was paved, though it was pretty much only one of two around that wasn't dirt. The closest gas station was 10 minutes in either direction and we were about 1/2 hour to our closest relatives, my parents.

From the end of our driveway we could look across the road and see orange groves for what seemed like miles and the smell of their blossoms the winter after Goober was born took my breath away. People on horseback rode in front of our house on a regular basis and my kids loved to walk across our little road and feed the pony and donkey that lived in the little pasture there.  We learned to get what we needed while we were "in town" and how to take care of our well and septic system and how to defend our trash cans against small woodland creatures.

And before we knew it, we were loving our "country lifestyle" and marveling over the stars at night and how people smiled at our little grocery store and waved when passing on our narrow dirt roads. Our kids started school and made friends and just like that we really had built a life out here in the boonies.

It wasn't long after we moved in that another plaza was built not too far away with a Publix and a Burger King and a Dominos Pizza - and then a Walgreens across the street and a public library around the corner.  I can't say I haven't enjoyed these new amenities. I shop at that Publix and have been so thankful for a pizza place that would deliver to us and a 1 hour photo lab just up the street. My kids practically live at that library.  But if those things had never come, I'd have been okay.

Several years ago those beautiful orange groves were damaged by some terrible fruit tree disease and our area was hit with hurricane after hurricane that pretty much put those groves right out of business. A huge developer has bought that land and has proposed a development far beyond the scope of anything our little community could have ever imagined 10 years ago.  Zero lot line homes and retail and apartments and a spring training facility. Within spitting distance from the end of our driveway.

Just a few miles away in either direction, two more huge developments are being proposed on agricultural lands that are no long being used agriculturally. It's all happened so fast I feel like my head is spinning.

But I was never one to go quietly into that good night. So I'll be fighting and gnashing my teeth and attending meetings and doing whatever else needs to be done to keep development at bay. Maybe we can fight them off for just a little while longer. Long enough for me to send Goober off to college while there's still cows in the pastures and horses trotting by our driveway.