So many times, we get caught up in the Joneses.
They bought a treehouse. Should I build a treehouse?
She drives a brand new Tahoe. Why am I not driving a brand new Tahoe?
That family travels to the beach every weekend, it seems. Why don't we do that?
We have no trees. The Tahoe is paid for and Husband works most weekends. That's why.
Affording life ain't cheap-- no matter the lifestyle. Some make it look easier than others, while others make extravagance look like a pauper's life. I don't know where we fall on the spectrum and I don't really care. What I do know is that my children are loved and happy.
Growing up, Brother and I never wanted for much. In looking back, I remember wanting things but what those things are now I do not remember. Sure I wanted to new car when I turned 16- but that was not going to happen. I got a car-- that I paid exactly half of-- and I cannot complain at the fact that I had wheels. Some of my friends drove cars that started with 12 miles on them. Not this girl.
Again, in college, both Brother and I were in a fraternity/sorority and, no- we did not buy our friends. We were not the ones dropping Daddy's credit card and buying the bar drinks, but we could afford to go out. We also had a job. Silly jobs- like I worked at a chicken shack because I thought it would be a good place to meet boys (it was). Brother worked as a telemarketer and once sold a Triple A membership to a man who did not own a car or have a driver's license. Nothing that involved too much work and nothing that interfered with our football schedule. Just a little something to put some change in our pockets and keep us busy.
When Husband was in residency- it was comical to compare ourselves to our friends- something that everyone does, but no one admits. I clipped coupons. We ate at my parent's house. We did not travel. There were no kids... and then there were and there were diapers to buy and food to eat.
In DC- we were all on about the same budget and it was thread tight. And still, our kids wanted for nothing. They did not know that there was more to have. We packed lunches instead of eating out. We spent days at the park instead of the mall. Sure, they cried in the store when they saw an erroneous teddy bear or piece of candy, but it was forgotten within ten minutes of leaving.
Now we are back in the land of Joneses. In the land where everyone varies and things have intrinsic value. The Joneses have 72 inch 4D rounded televisions and super off-road wheels on their brand-new golf cart. The Joneses baffle me.
I picked up a few things for the kids for Easter a few weeks ago. I was at Target to get a picture frame and walked out with candy, an Elmo DVD, and a LeapFrog learning game. No picture frame. Along the way, I picked up two bags of candy, a few cheap bracelets for Leenie, and some sidewalk chalk.
Fast forward to the day before Easter and it dawns on me that I have not been back to the store to "finish" their baskets. This will just have to do. If they are upset that they did not get enough, we will have to make it up to them on Arbor Day.
Y'all- those kids bee lined down the hall and found their Easter baskets to be beyond perfect. Leenie jumped up and down at her little game. Bennie was ecstatic about her Elmo DVD. Honestly, she was more excited about finding her E-E aye-ggs, but liked her basket just the same.
During the Easter Egg hunt this morning with our two little girls, they were so excited, so happy to be picking up eggs and putting them in their baskets. Some of the eggs were empty, because I ran out of candy, and just a few had rocks in them to add some weight to it. As Leenie opened those, she said, "HEY! This one is empty! It's like Jesus' tomb. He's Alive!"
Knock me down. Call me humble.
The ones with the rock? "HEY! This is like the boulder that Jesus moved when he was res-ah-res-rected!"
They did not miss anything and were happy to be in their whole family, consuming copious amounts of chocolate. So much chocolate, that I made them run laps outside until they could run no more.
It's my goal to ignore the Joneses. We will do what we can do for our children with what we have. I will want them to never want for anything, but want them to know what want is. There is a fine line in that.
So, if you stayed with me in this blog until the end- I am really writing this for myself. To remind myself when I look back through my blog. They will not notice what you forget to do as long as you are with them and fill them with love. They do not need to have baskets overflowing with expensive nothing. They need to be reminded that they are part of something so much bigger. Remember that, Older Me. Leave a few eggs empty and see what they can create with their imagination. It's so much more powerful than any pocketbook.