It’s been six years since we had to leave our Berlin apartment. At the same time, I was offered a job in Illinois. One might call this fate – we did not.
Instead, we discussed, considered and dreamed for weeks, because we had looked at a house nearby that was for sale. A difficult decision, each of our options had advantages and disadvantages and the only way out was to have the boy (then 7) decide: what do you want? Shall we move closer to the best basketball league in the world or in a small house in Southern Berlin with a basketball hoop in the driveway?
He chose the latter.
Hence, we bought a small, old house not far from where we used to live. We had no idea what it meant to own a house. In short: there is always something that needs to be done (and paid for). Of course, we wanted to stick to our promise, pave the driveway and assemble a portable hoop, but every time we had enough money, something else came along. And that something else was always absolutely essential. After a storm, we had to cut down enormous fir trees before they fell over, we had to redo the roof …
For six years, the boy has been waiting for his hoop. And it will take even longer. At least, that is what I thought.
Last Friday, my friend Pia was in Berlin. We sat in the sun, knitted, talked and then at some point she said – albeit in a completely different context – small steps, we have to take small steps. And that most of the time everyone thinks way too big, way too complex.
Only later in the car, after I had taken her to the airport, it finally clicked: Small steps!
Yes, right now something else is again more essential than a basketball hoop: we have to seal a dampwall in the basement from the outside. To be able to do this, we have to take down the stairs to the front door. Seal the wall, build new stairs, paving stones in the driveway, a new garden fence, a gate. A 5-figure sum in total. We’re putting money aside. Probably we’ll have enough by the end of summer.
However, a hoop is a hoop! No more, no less. Scoring is possible, even when the basement wall is damp and the driveway is unpaved. Small steps.
That same night we looked online and in the store for portable basketball hoops; the next morning we decided, bought and assembled it. Now it is there, as if it has always been there. Until dusk the son would throw the ball, dribble and play his game. Early the next morning he was back outside – to make sure the hoop was still there.
Yes, we still need to do the basement. And the driveway. Eventually, we will do both. One at a time.
We have a hoop. We have a very happy boy. We couldn’t ask for more ?.