Saturday, March 19, 2011

Reflections on Life (with Attitude Adjustment)

Last night I went to bed with my phone on the bedside table.  I don't do this all of the time - but I do if I have unaccounted for kids or if someone is out of town.  So, imagine my surprise to wake up to find an e-mail that someone has sent me $5,000 through Western Union!  All I have to do is provide a bunch of personal information and it is all mine mine mine.

Yeah, right.

It would be nice, though.  To be able to just have a few minutes free from worry about money.  To be the recipient of a gift like that for no other reason except that somebody wanted me to have it. 

How would I spend my virtual $5,000?  That's easy. 


I don't know if any of you reading this have actually experienced the joy of paying for twelve years of private school tuition followed by four years of college.  Trying to manuever prom dresses, car insurance, vehicles, gas, highlighting, clothes, books, entertainment, sororites/fraternities, holidays, travel abroad, cotillion, senior trips, debutante ball, Oakley/RayBan/whatever sunglasses, graduation gifts, senior pictures, tuxedos, Rush dresses, makeup, visits to the dermatologist, pedicures, tanning, eyebrow waxing, beach trips, Spring Break, and a surprise computer when the old one fries...and wondering when that whole full sense of appreciation that is supposed to occur in early adulthood is going to kick in.

Are they spoiled?  Probably.  But they are also grounded.  We've tried to be extremely careful to walk that line between enough and too much.  I mean...we said "no" to the Barbie jeep when she was three, week long trips to Disney World, expensive clothes, purses and jewelry, the latest technological wonders, cell phones (until they were 14), semester abroad, 4-wheelers, new car at 16, and some other things I can't recall right now, but we did our best.  They've worked since they were 16.  They consider "shopping" going to purchase something you need rather than "retail therapy."   They understand that we shop from the sale rack and buy whatever's on special at Publix.  Not just because we have to...but because it is stupid not to.  At least in my little world.

At some points in time, today...I think back on the financial decisions we've made - what we've given up - in the name of trying to give them every opportunity to succeed - and it just seems a little silly.  I mean, none of those expenses we've managed is in itself a bad thing...except perhaps the tanning...but somehow it just feels like we got sucked up into the vortex of doing what everyone else was doing.

Except that they probably didn't have to give up vacations, new furniture, travel, and some peace of mind to do it.  Or maybe they did.  I have no idea...and it is really none of my business.  But would I do it differently?  Absolutely not.  Not living where I do.  Oh, we could have moved and things might have been easier.  That's just hard to know.

It is incredibly easy to get all caught up in something.  I should know.  Eating poorly has gotten me into a situation that I am nearly convinced is impossible to extract myself.  Not clearing the decks every day has made the remaining clutter stubbornly difficult to free myself of without spending days and days that I honestly would rather not devote to decluttering.  And knowing that I have another year of college to pay after this one for one child...and another one coming on her heels for his four years is not putting me in my happy place to say the least.

Yes, it would have been nice for that $5,000 to have been fo' reals.

I realize that what I have written sounds a little bit whiny.  Okay, perhaps more than a little.  But I suppose that I was hoping for all of this investing, I might have the opportunity to see without a shadow of a doubt that it was worth it.  Sitting here at 7:27 a.m. on a Saturday morning...with a ton of chores ahead of me...and two days to get them accomplished in is just exhausting to think about.  So, here I am pondering the universe and second-guessing myself.

I don't know why I am worrying about anything.  My faith is bigger than that.  I should do what I can...but should also believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything will work out as it should.  I should be believing that the sacrifices that Big Dave and I made to raise our kids will actually pay off.  That they will exceed our expectations and be sources of pride to us...much as they are right now.  That they will marry people that we not only think are perfect for them...but that we are proud and excited to welcome to our family. 

If I get nothing else in this lifetime...I hope that my two marry well...if they choose to marry at all. 

And why is it that I am worried about either of them getting married right now?  I about borrowing trouble.  (Emphasis on borrowing...just thinking about the expense of a future wedding makes me more than a little freaked out.  A rehearsal dinner...I think we can pull off.)

I think that there are times when all of us sit and wonder if our ladder is on the wrong wall.  If there is a reason why we feel like we do.  Often there is.  There's been a turning point...a fork in the road...a decision that has to be made or a choice that by default removes other options.  We sit and ponder if we could have or would have done anything any differently. 

Most of the time, I am very grateful for all of the good things in my life.  And other times...I wonder if I will look back one day and feel like I've wasted a lot of time and effort hoping for an outcome that just isn't meant to be. 

Maybe this is just an aftershock from a midlife crisis.  I suppose it's possible.  Or maybe I'm just trying to accept that some of the dreams I hold for some of the people I love just aren't going to suit me.  Hormones?  I honestly don't know.

But for today, I am going to keep pressing forward.  I'll get some of the things off of my "to do" list and I'll utilize this free time in the best way I can.  Including taking some time to pray for either something to change...or for my perception of it to change. 

Because all I can actually change is my attitude.  Oh, I can change my behavior, too...but that's a long-term fix with a kind of two steps forward one step back dance associated with it. 

What I need to fix today is my attitude toward the fear that all parents have.  The fear that we weren't enough...or that we were too much.  That we said too much...or didn't say enough.  That we expected too little...or expected too much.  I suppose it varies from household to household and child to child.

So, just for today, I am going to be happy that my daughter is home for the next 24 hours, and that my son is coming home today from the beach.  That my husband has jobs lined up for next week, and that I don't have anything on my agenda that is a "must do" except for church tomorrow morning and returning my movie to Redbox today.  Even that rental return isn't that big of a deal...I'll just get stuck paying another dollar or two.

The sun is shining and every weather report I've heard says that it is going to be a glorious day.  Our pool liner should be intalled within the next two weeks so that the sad gaping hole in our backyard will not look like its contents were raptured and Armageddon was fought there.  Actually, the sad little liner and empty pool look better than the LeSeuer pea colored pond that was living in there prior to them having to pump it out to take measurements.

The replacement TV from SONY will be with us within the next two weeks as well.  Although I have gotten used to seeing everyone with a bluish tint, I will admit that I'm kind of pumped about seeing TV as it is intended to be viewed.  If I can scrape together $150 (see...that $5,000 would have SO come in handy...) I'll buy Big Dave some 3-D glasses so that he can enjoy the upgraded set in all of its much anticipated awesomeness.  Yes, we are having to pay for the replacement set...but only about a third of what we'd have to pay if SONY hadn't realized that they produced a product that sue-happy America was grabbing torches and pitchforks to rail about and decided to settle on a Facebook page aptly titled "I Have A Defective SONY TV."  Our set is five years old.  Our last SONY was put down after 23 years of service.  I think I have a right to my pitchfork.

I'm expecting a book in the mail from an author (Kate Ledger - book "Passages") who is kindly sending me a copy of her book just because my birthday happened to be this week.  I won another book from a website ( and look forward to it coming in as well.  I'm still entering a contest through one website ( that goes on all month), so hopefully, my book winnings will come in threes (or I could win every book that she has had on there all month and be set through the summer for reading material).  Yes, that would totally rock. 

I'm also reflecting on how wonderful this week has been.  People have been extraordinarily kind to me.  Yes, primarily because it was my birthday...but I'll take it.  I have a lot to look forward to and a whole lot to be grateful for.

Okay...attitude adjustment made.  Now on to those chores...

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