Everyone talks about being thankful. Everyone. Allow me to be honest when I say that I don’t believe that half of the people who talk about it actually know what it means to be thankful. I do not write this to offend. It just so happens that of all the people I personally know who go on and on about being thankful (on social media, mind you), most of them have never not had. For certain, they’ve all thought, “Thank GOD that’s not me with nothing.” But is that gratitude? Try coming within an inch of losing your house sometime through no fault of your own but a really bad economy. In that, I would plainly argue that I am one of those people who truly knows what being thankful feels like.
On 11/1/15, my absolute best friend (of 14 years) and I stopped speaking. We have not spoken since. It’s coming up on a year very soon. I know we will never speak again. I am 100% okay with that because I have nothing (docile) to say to her, anyway. She clearly has had plenty to say to me, though, because for several months, she posted her very obvious feelings publicly on Pinterest, of all places. You can’t really hide anything on that social media site. I found that out the hard way because I got to see exactly what this so-called friend thought of me for so long (there is always going to be a mutual friend who leads you to the ugly evidence – and I’m thankful it happened, actually, because now I know my best friend was never my best friend).
First of all, whether or not this was actually about me, I did think it was at the time. And honestly? I still do. And back then, when I first saw it, I cried. A lot. For weeks. Because it’s mean. And it’s not true at all. At all. I was so hurt.
The one thought I kept coming back to over the days and weeks that followed was: For all those years, I chose someone like that to call my best friend, my sister?
Why would anyone who is happy with her own life think that someone else wants what she has? Is it not enough to be happy with your own life that you don’t actually stop to think (and take the time to post on social media), “Hmmm, who wishes they were me? Why, everyone, of course! Everyone wants to be me!” (insert Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too.”)
This was my best friend wielding around this vomitous attitude, the same person who stood up for me in my wedding, whom I stood up for in her wedding, who held my hand tightly through some pretty rough times, who’s hand I held tightly during some pretty rough times (and there were a lot of them for her). And after our friendship comes to a crashing halt over differences of opinion in parenting, suddenly it boils down to me wanting her life so that is why we can’t be friends, why we’re not friends? Did I miss something? Or should I have known better the last 14 years?
And then I wondered, Does my life suck and I just don’t know it? Is she trying to tell me my life sucks or that I should think it does?
I gotta tell you people something.
I don’t know if that snobbish posting was about me or not. I will never know. And I don’t care anymore. Because all that thinking got me somewhere.
Guess what, everyone?
I have a life I like. And being someone who almost lost her house 5 years ago, I want to share why I like my life and why I am genuinely thankful.
I’ve chosen not to dress this post up with personal pictures. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know what my life “looks like” and you know that this post can stand alone without images to aid in visualization. My words are going to be enough.
I have two gorgeous children who are healthy, smart, loved, cared for, etc etc etc etc. They have appropriate toys to play with, and wonderful books to read, and nice, clean clothes to wear, and nutritious food to eat.
I have a husband who is far from perfect but who is perfect for me. And I’m far from perfect, too. He loves me anyway!
I have a job that pays little but matters so much.
Our house is a standard Cape without extras, that we’ve done a lot of work on and still have a lot of work left to do. I don’t know if we’ll ever be done. It has so much great natural light, though, and we love our neighborhood.
The yard has more of a well-walked look to it, I jokingly refer to areas of our yard as a dirt pit but we take care of it the best we can and I think it’s okay.
We have a cool, clean pool to swim in during summer, and lots of space to play with our kids.
Our kitchen is small but we eat really great dinners as a family in there, every night. We have a table to eat on (it belonged to my beloved Grammy and Pepere, actually), dishware and utensils to eat with, warm water and soap to wash those dishes and utensils, clean towels to wipe them dry, cabinets to store them. We have a functioning stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher!! A dishwasher! Can you imagine having to wash every dish by hand? And there are lots and lots of people who do! Maybe by choice, maybe not, but I am sure glad I have a dishwasher.
Our children share a playroom that’s pretty cramped but the joy and creativity and reading and singing that happens in there is immeasurable.
Our living room is tiny but in there, we’ve watched a lot of great TV, celebrated many wonderful Christmases, danced, read fabulous books, and taken refreshing naps.
The office has two nice windows that look out into the yard, with a good computer that allows me access to work and the outside world.
We’re lucky to have two clean, accommodating bathrooms. I had one growing up and it was hell on earth, I tell you! In these bathrooms we have all the things we need to take care of ourselves and warm water and we have fluffy towels that smell good too.
We sleep in comfortable bedrooms that keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
We drive nice cars that we can afford.
We don’t go to Disney, no. We do not have a beach house in our family, either. We don’t go on expensive ski weekends. We can’t afford those things with two children and the cost of health care and child care. Plus, I’m afraid of flying and lately, of crazy people. We go on vacations, though. We go to the Lake where we build camp fires, and fish, and know our fellow townspeople, and pick wild blueberries, and swim in fresh water, and fall asleep to the sounds of the woods that surround us. This summer, we’re going someplace new! And we take lots of day trips on the weekend to local destinations, because really, the goal is to spend time with our kids. It doesn’t really matter where.
And as soon as I get over my fear of flying and crazy people, and we don’t have to pay thousands of dollars a year in child care, we are going to visit some soulful place like Baja or somewhere.
My kids don’t need Disney. Do I feel guilty? You betcha. But what can I do? It’s not the end of the world.
My life is good. There is nothing wrong with it. I’ve never tried to be someone I’m not. I am thankful for every single part of my life. I am grateful for the people in my life who love me, are there for me, teach me, and inspire me to be a better mother, wife, daughter, and teacher. I compete with no one.
No, I don’t want someone else’s life. And I just needed to say it.