“When you can no longer stand, kneel.” While driving to a Christmas play date yesterday I saw this on a board outside a church. Must have been God’s way of getting through to me. This particular Christmas season has been extremely stressful physically, financially and socially. It seems I have not been able to sit down and enjoy it and reflect on the Christmas season. Instead I feel I am being pulled into 10 different directions while having my checking account drained at the same time. Every Christmas I seem to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
We live in an area that is deeply divided among the haves and have nots. We tend to lean towards the have nots, but we seemed to be surrounded by the haves. Especially when we go to play dates. Our family lives in a house that is now 27 years old. Our appliances are old and something always seems to be breaking. We still have a big box 32 inch TV and we do not have cable. My daughter does not get every toy she wants. I don’t get new clothes very often and I am happy when my Jeep and my husband’s Jetta starts up every day. I am thankful for the house we live in and knowing we will always have a roof over our head. How do I know that? The house is owned by my parents and paid in full.
We struggle every day for me to stay home with Opal. Why don’t I go back to work? The main reason I don’t go back to work is I didn’t make a lot of money before I had Opal. My paycheck would pay for childcare and that is about it.
Going to play dates and seeing the nice houses, cars and toys is always tough on me because I feel like we are lacking in some areas. Yesterday at the play date there were a lot of questions about what toys were bought for the kids and so on. The laundry list of things that were purchased for the kids was insane. Growing up we got 1-2 presents each and that was it. My parents didn’t make a lot of money and the way father describes it now some months he had to rob Peter to pay Paul. My father worked in the same job for over 30 years at the USDA and my mother was a school teacher. He had a good job, but it wasn’t always enough to live in this area. We were always happy though and looking back I never felt like I missed out.
I want Opal to grow up with the same ideas that ‘stuff’ does not make you happy. As a family we try to put an emphasis on making memories and spending time together instead of material things.