When you think about starting a project bigger than yourself it often seems insurmountable. I tend to be a planner by nature and so I try and think of all the details involved in a decision. This is a great strategy when you are packing for a trip, going to the grocery store, planning a meal. It messes with your head when you start kicking planning up a notch. When you start planning life, the details can seem to get in the way of living it sometimes. I believe in making a plan and working it, but sometimes you just have to choose a direction and go to it. TAKE THE FIRST STEP and you are on your way to completing your goal. You are on your way to meeting the unforseen, the dangers, the pitfalls, the glory of the view from the top of the mountain. For me having kids was a bit like that. I knew I would never save enough first, plan for everything, learn everything, and be everything all at once. I think most of us find that to be true AFTER we have children, but we would never ask to get off the ride once we get started. What do planning for kids and a travel trailer blog have to do with each other I can hear you asking? Well, in my world everything. The two reflect my journey very well.
When I married my husband I already had a wonderful, “planned-for” daughter. I was happy with one child. I will confess, I made my husband think long and hard about my decision not to have more children before I said yes to his marriage proposal. I wanted him to be clear I did not want more children and did not want him to feel robbed of having his own children. Four years into our marriage, we changed our plans and our first son was born, to the delight of our small family. I had my heart change and although I had no idea how we would care for another child in our family, I knew we would figure it out. At the time my paycheck brought home more than my husband’s. That is not to say it was a large check, just a tiny bit bigger. Looking at the cost of childcare for two children, it made more sense to tighten the belt on our half starved budget and just have me stay at home with our children. It was scary and a relief all at once. It was a giant step forward in faith that things would find a way to work themselves out. We didn’t have any public assistance like housing or food stamps as back up, we made $20.00 too much to qualify and I knew we would make it on our own anyway. My training growing up in a finically challenged home finally paid off. I had a large skill set for running a home and being pretty good at DIY. My dad had owned hardware stores, I had a paint and wallpaper business with my mother in high school, I had run and managed paint departments and worked several odd jobs in my 30 years. I didn’t know how, but I was sure we would make it. It was at the point I was just thinking I had a handle on all of this stepping out, when my world of plans went out the window and we brought another wonderful addition to our little family. I had no business “planning” this third child, and yet to be in this world without this young man would have stolen a joy in my life that is unthinkable. He arrived with no plan in place, no vision for the future, no skill set for 3 children and yet I stepped up to the plate and hit the curve ball, ran as fast a humanly possible and made it to base headfirst, arms and fingers straining and outstretched. It was in this time of my life I learned, “Plans change. Unplanned happens.”
Having purchased my first fixer upper vintage trailer, I took the first step into a plan I never made. I realized a deeply buried and guarded dream inside of me and gave it wings. I also developed a tick. Not the little black disgusting insect tick. Not the muscle twitch. The “Trailer Tick”. I can no longer drive anywhere as a passenger or driver that my eyes and mind do not roam the road, behind barns, driveways, mobile home parks, RV storage, campgrounds, highways, classified ads, Craigslist, forums, grocery store parking lots. I have an illness borne of the joy of sharing my trailers and I couldn’t be happier. My first step was slightly terrifying for me. It was taking money out of our small emergency fund (a huge no-no!) and buying a $400.00 fixer upper. I had no idea where we would go with it. I had no intention of a blog. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in an old smelly wreck of useless hunk of siding and wheels. I didn’t know anything but my girlhood dream had come true. I didn’t have a big plan in place. I didn’t even know if I could ever pull a trailer by myself. I didn’t even own a rig to pull it with. I just took the first step. That first step has built itself into a detailed plan I am step-by-step climbing the staircase to build into a game-changer.
My husband who is not a planner and is open to risk taking, bought this 1968 L520 Datsun pick up when our daughter was in Kindergarten for about $600.00. We moved EDD (his licence plate letters) to and from several houses and locations. He sat mostly in neglect for about 10 years while life streamed on. This year EDD drove my husband Patrick and our two boys to a carshow. We detailed him out as a ‘work in progress’, put in new brakes and a clutch, not an easy fete for a vehicle that hasn’t been manufactured for decades. My husband loved EDD from the get-go and so he understood my trailer dream in the way one enthusiast understands another. As a family, we rallied together to make this car show happen. He got a new rattle-can spray paint job that showed he was a work in progress with a vision behind it, his old paint was rubbed and waxed and rubbed again to gleam to the best of it’s tired ability, and he ran for the first time in a long time under his own power. The first family outing to the little carshow with a few hundred guys who were wowed by EDD’s elderly charm helped solidify the vision for his future. It buoyed my husband and all of us were elated with TEAM FARRELL and our progress. My first son now drives EDD down our country road to work odd landscape jobs for our neighbor. That job, with this truck, supports his summer dreams of concerts, camps and road trips and some independence worthy of a 15 year old. His younger brother is working for the neighbor too and learning to drive a stick-shift. I didn’t see that kind benefit when we bought EDD years ago. Didn’t plan that.
So what does having babies, a 1968 Datsun dream and trailers have to do with taking the first step? Everything. None of it was planned. All of it has been the core of what makes my life a journey I adore waking up for. It all began with just taking THE FIRST STEP. By just taking the first step a journey into a fuller future was created. I would not be comfortable, I would not be certain, I would and will fail along the way. But you know what? I have never lived to my fullest like I am living now. Bumps, bruises, uncertainty, difficulties, hardships, have been the valleys that have brought me to my mountain tops. My children are adaptable, stronger, carry a vision for a long process and the steps it takes to undertake a project. We have all seen the benefit of our hard work pay off. My marriage is richer, my life is enriched with more friends and experiences.
The first step changes everything and it seems the scariest. Having said that, I have no idea why I don’t ‘First Step’ more often. The twisty, gravel-backroad, wild-bumpy ride is tough, but the view from the first step is so much better than from where I was standing before. What is your first step? Is your vision a little fuzzy in regards to how it might work? I think sometimes fuzzy vision is clear enough. I encourage you to take that first step if not today, soon. You are missing a wonderful something that makes life bearable in the midst of the elbow grease it takes to live it.
I would love to hear about your first step. Share it with me, that might be YOUR first step.
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