Thursday, January 10, 2013


Something I just read reminded me of a moment a few weeks ago that made me very grateful for my circumstances.

Let me preface this with, its easy to fall prey to feeling resentful of our circumstances.  We have a hand-me-down kitchen table and cheap Target chairs that were a Christmas gift 7 years ago.  We have three chairs in our living room: two from Goodwill and one a 10-year-old hand-me-down from my mom. We own one 8-year-old 27-inch tube TV, a 7.5-year-old desktop computer that only kind of works anymore, our decent laptop that serves as our primary computer,  and one 2-year-old iPad. Upstairs we have our wonderful king-size bed that we bought ourselves just before Dylan was born, the older kids' bunkbed that we got at a discount retailer a few years ago, Kylie's thrift store mattresses that sit on the floor, and Keira's play pen that was a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law. Outside we have a 12-year-old Honda Accord and a 7-year-old Dodge Caravan, both of which we bought used.  Those are all our major possessions (and we don't have a lot of minor ones), and we're living in a crumbling (but, thankfully, very warm) old rental house at the moment.  We're making ends meet, but not a whole lot more than that.  The last times we went more than two hours from home were a quick Easter weekend jaunt down to Orem in April 2011 to pick up the rest of our possessions that my in-laws had driven up from California, and, before that, a 2-day family trip to Apple Hill in October of 2010.  We've been on approximately ten dates in the last two years.  Hopefully, if we're disciplined, we'll make some serious headway in the next few months and be able to start moving toward saving for a place of our own and saving for some of the other things we'd like (like real furniture and whatnot),  and in a year or two be in a very different position, but in the mean time, we are still recovering from 15 months of unemployment (before which we weren't exactly living high on the hog),.  We could probably be in a different position right now if I had chosen to finish school before having kids and had worked outside our home during the last several years.  No one is ever more aware of that than I am.

But back to my moment.  Last Saturday, we didn't go anywhere or do anything all day (which is pretty unusual--we usually find some way to get out of the house), and the kids played happily together all day, building forts, playing board games, make-believing and dressing up and riding stick horses.  I'm always very grateful that, despite the challenges of raising what is by today's standards a good sized family, I have all of them.  By the end of the day, I was very glad that they all have each other.  I'm very grateful for the abundant ways that I am blessed by having my siblings in my life, and when I remember that, or have days like that where my kids play together so wonderfully, I'm glad we've made the necessary sacrifices to have a large family.

A moment I had a few days earlier reminded me how grateful I am to be a stay-at-home mom, no matter the financial sacrifices involved.  Keira woke up happy, but when the other kids left for school, she crawled up into my lap and wanted to snuggle.  She wasn't sick, and didn't seem to be too tired, but she just wanted to be held and rocked.  So that's what I did.  For 40 minutes, I held my one-and-a-half-year-old on my lap and rocked.  Because I could.

And everyday, I sit with my four-year-old and read books and trace letters and play Go Fish and dance with my little girls.  I pick up my older kids from school, and am ready and able to listen all about their day, get them a snack, help them with homework, and have them help me with dinner, and the vast majority of the time do it all happily, because I'm not distracted, too busy, tired or gone.  I'm grateful for that.  I'd love to have that and the beautiful house and nice furniture and toys and money to travel, but if I have to pick one or the other, I'd pick the time with and focus on my kids every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

I'm grateful to have a husband who not only understands that, but cherishes and supports it.  It means that he has to make sacrifices, too, and it doesn't allow much room for selfishness on his part, but he's glad I'm there with them everyday, and all the richness that gives to his life that money could never buy.

I do hope to get back into school in the next year or two, first and foremost because a marketable degree is the best life insurance I could possibly have if anything were to ever happen to Doug, but when I look back on the last 10 years of decisions regarding family, education, and work, I can say with complete honesty I have absolutely no regrets.