Saturday, November 24, 2012
ON BEING GRATEFUL
I'm not much of a complainer. It's just not something I've ever seen much use in. It gets you nowhere. And as I sit here, munching on leftover chocolate mousse and red wine from this past holiday, this holiday devoted to THANKFULNESS, I question whether I even really want to write this post. But I made a decision earlier today to write it, to get all my complaining and maybe even a resolution out in the air, and therefore maybe even out of my system. Maybe there's something to this complaining. Maybe dumping it all in cyberspace will dump it OUT of me. Maybe.
I see my husband once a week, from about 10AM to 3PM. That means that my husband sees his son, and his wife, once a week, from about 10AM to 3PM. This is because while my husband is in school full time to provide us a future, he's also working full time so I can stay at home and care for our son in the present. This is hard. This is so hard. Prior to having Logan, we were practically inseparable. AND WE LIKED IT THAT WAY. We know that this sacrifice now will pay off in the long run. We know how much better off everyone will be if we just swallow this bitter, but temporary, pill right now. We don't talk about it much, we don't whine about it much, it is what it is and it sucks and so be it.
We are also incredibly financially poor. There are frequent times of not knowing whether we have the gas money for work or school. There has been more than one month that the rent was short. Sometimes the electric bill gets paid, and only partially paid, in change I dug out of the sofa. This happens. This is real life. These are the sacrifices. I don't cloth diaper because it's "cool". I cloth diaper because if I didn't we couldn't pay rent and that's even a slight exaggeration. I am so thankful that Logan was born a champion nurser not only because I never once considered formula feeding for health reasons, but because if I had to use formula, even commercial formula (which I would avoid at ALL POSSIBLE COSTS) but then we couldn't pay rent. And that is not even a slight exaggeration.
Yes we have family. Yes. They would probably pick up some diapers, or a can of formula. But not EVERY pack of diapers and not EVERY can of formula and we are in a position where EVERY POSSIBLE PENNY matters. I sold diapers to buy Christmas presents. I felt lucky to be able to do so or there would be no Christmas presents.
So when friends of ours recently entered a situation where they would only see each other once per week, but be able to make MORE THAN THREE TIMES the amount of money we make, my first reaction was commiseration. It SUCKS to not see your husband. It SUCKS to not ever get a break. It does. I feel you. I'm sorry that this is happening to you but there is so much good that is going to come from it.
But. When their situation was complained about, cried about, whined about PUBLICLY, I kind of lost it. How dare you be so UNGRATEFUL?! So INCONSIDERATE! What about those military families who miss the births of their children? How dare you say your family is being RIPPED APART?! I was so mad.
And then I realized, why am I mad? Let them cry about it! If they choose not to find the joys in that one day a week (as opposed to months on end apart), if they choose not to find the joys that will be provided in that new, sizable income (hey, man, money can't buy happiness but it can sure give it a boost), then so be it. But really I was inspired to look inward, to be more proactive in finding my joy in the life I am SO blessed to have. The joy of being able to spend my time nurturing and growing the tiny person we so badly wanted. The joy of being able to spend just those few hours with my husband, knowing it could be so much less. The joy of finding new ways to be crafty and frugal so that we may have beautiful things to enrich our surroundings. The joy of being GRATEFUL for what I have, and not COVETOUS of what I do not.
So that is my mission now, to be grateful at every turn. To always look up, no matter how DOWN things seem.
(PS: nourishing chocolate mousse recipe, the WHO baby feeding guidelines, what I would do if I couldn't breastfeed)