We live in a middle class neighborhood in Fullerton, CA. Nothing fancy. Just a simple, normal, American neighborhood. Up until a few months ago, the house next door to us was vacant for a while. We’d see it every day and Natalia and I would guess what type of family would move in next. We were just hoping they would be nice, quiet and friendly:) Well, the day finally arrived a few months ago and a nice Indian family moved in: An older mom and dad, their 2 elementary-aged children and their grandparents. One thing we’ve noticed is, they spend most of their days outside their home – the kids playing, the grandparents enjoying the perfect Southern California weather.
Ever since Saylah was born, you could find us walking up and down our street COUNTLESS times a day. For the first few months of Saylah’s life, we would stroll down the neighborhood with her in the stroller. Then we moved up to a toddler car that Saylah loves to ride in while we push her from behind. Then Saylah quickly began walking at 11 months, so we began holding her hand and walked up and down the street with her. Just a few short weeks ago, I gifted Natalia with a beach cruiser that also has a toddler seat so Saylah can ride with her. Oh, and in the process, I gifted myself with a beach cruiser too so I can join them in on all the fun:) We’ve become a family that loves to also be outdoors most of the day!
Nearly every time we stroll, walk, push Saylah around in her toddler car, or ride our new cruisers down the street, our next door neighbors have been outside, too… watching and smiling:) Natalia and I would often joke about what our neighbors think of us. They don’t know we’re full-time Photographers and that most of our days are spent at home, working. We say “hi” and smile at them every time we see them, and Saylah loves to play with their 2 children… But we’ve never engaged into any deep conversations with the parents, yet.
So we tried to put ourselves in their shoes – from their perspective. WHAT MUST OUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS THINK OF US? Mommy and Daddy are always home, it seems. Here are a few thoughts we came up with!
“How do their feet NOT get tired?! They’ve been walking all day.”
“Does he EVER work?! He’s always home!”
“How do they survive with no income?”
“There they go again, that’s their tenth bike ride of the day.”
“How do they pay their mortgage if Dad’s always home?”
“Yep, another cup of Starbucks in their hands.”
“Oh, the younger generation of today. All fun, no work.”
Truth is, we don’t know what they’re thinking about us! But we know we’d be a little suspicious about our laid-back lifestyle if we were looking at ourselves from an outside perspective! Oh, and on top of that: We love to dance with Saylah in our living room before her bed-time. If the window is open, though, EVERYTHING can be heard. One night we got into one of our overly-excited moods and sang, danced, and just acted, well, crazy along with Saylah. Saylah LOVES it, she laughs hysterically and uses up all her energy (it’s perfect for right before her bedtime.) Well, OUR WINDOW WAS WIDE OPEN. Just another reason for them to think we’re the crazy young neighbors next door who do nothing all day but have fun… morning ‘til night.
We’ve accepted the fact that we live very different lives than most families today. The reality is, we LOVE our lives! We don’t work a normal Monday – Friday job. Although I do work most days during the week, I am very flexible with going on a bike ride in the morning with my family, then when I’m craving a break from editing and normal photography-related work, we’ll go again… and then right before sunset, we’ll go again to catch the most perfect weather of the day. There are days where I’ll take an extended lunch to walk with Saylah and Natalia down our street. I know most people don’t get to enjoy that luxury, and I am BEYOND GRATEFUL that I get to be with my family more than the average American father does. I am so grateful for that! And we understand what a HUGE blessing that is! We thank God every day for this amazing gift that He’s given my family and I, we don’t take it light-heartedly nor do we take it for granted. We soak in every moment.
One day we’ll muster up the courage to ask our next-door neighbors what they think of us:) For now, we will continue enjoying or simple life and smiling at any neighbor that wonders how we survive by Daddy always being home:) Haha. I am so thankful for the gift of Photography – it has given me the opportunity to be home most days. I thank God for allowing Natalia and I to live out our dreams… every… single… day.
"It's the beauty of simplicity that brings me down to my knees.
It's the beauty of simplicity that fills me with eternity.
Lord I love you, because You first loved me."
Telecast - The Beauty Of Simplicity