Wouldn’t you love to know what you are doing that is going to cost your kids some therapy later in life? I don’t have to wait. I know, because they’ve told me.
My kids have told me that I have a nasty habit of killing their joy with my regular inclusion of “orphans and families living on dirt floors” into our discussions. To quote Eddie quoting me, “Oh Eddie, you said you like that piece of cake? Well, don’t forget that there are orphans in other countries who have never tasted cake. What’s that you say? You like that soft pillow Grandma made you? Just remember that somewhere at this very moment there is a child laying on a dirt floor. They don’t have a pillow.” That looks even worse in writing. What have I done? At Christmas I am ridiculous. My poor kids
I’ve been trying to lighten up, but it is hard. I feel steeped in luxury, and I don’t want my family or me to take it for granted. This week we had two luxury items delivered to our home, a dishwasher and a Kindle Paperwhite.
Our dishwasher broke in June. We eat 98% of our meals at home. Every meal involves the stove or oven, and pots and pans. We juice and use the food processor every day. My kitchen counters have been buried in dishes for 6 months. Everybody in the family was doing them (some of us more than others), but it’s like one little person trying to stop a village wide stampede. The mess is an overpowering force.
I kept dragging my feet with the dishwasher purchase. I wanted to pay cash, and a dishwasher is not a necessity, right?
Well, apparently Scott thinks it IS a necessity. It is necessary to stop me from complaining about all the dishes. He could not take it any more. One Sunday I was gently reminding my sweetheart, and the lads and lass in our home that I was doing those precious dishes…AGAIN!!!! Scott said in a definitive and firm (rare occurance) voice, “We are buying a dishwasher tomorrow.” I give.
What blessed, blessed relief. We bought a beautiful Bosch dishwasher upon the recommendation of my Facebook besties. The only problem I see is that Scott may get a little jealous. I want to marry this dishwasher. Wait, that’s weird. Forget I said that.
I know that a dishwasher is pure luxury. I do not deserve it. But, can I just say that it is so AWESOME!!! You just throw all the dirty dishes in there and push start. It’s crazy. You wouldn’t believe it.
It took a month for the dishwasher to arrive. They did not have any white ones in stock. The salesperson said there is not much demand for white. I guess most people aren’t as modern as us. They don’t know that white is the new stainless steel. We’re kinda used to that though.
The second luxury item was this Kindle Paperwhite. Hello? What part of a Kindle is involved in providing my family with food, shelter and clothing? None of it. It’s for someone spoiled like me. Of course, my story is that I have this reading habit that costs us some cash in overdue fines. I started buying books at second hand stores because I wasn’t good at returning books to the library on time. But, that costs money too. Plus, I think I have 100 pounds of books under our bed. So, that isn’t an efficient use of space, right? See how I just talked myself into thinking I NEED a Kindle Paperwhite? I’m good at that.
When I was pregnant with our second child, we decided I should stay home. Eventually, we were a family of five, living on Scott’s youngish teacher’s salary. I remember one time a friend said, “You guys are the happiest poor people I know.”
I said, “Thanks. I think.”
When Scott got home that night I told him I learned something new that day. I said, “Did you know that we are poor?”
He answered, “We are?”
I said, “Yes. We are.”
He said, “Huh.”
Some time later, Eddie was in school. I had another friend tell me that our family probably qualified for free and reduced lunch. I looked it up. Sure enough, she was right. So, it was true. We were, by definition, poor. We had two older cars that were paid for, but worked fine. We owned a sweet little townhouse that I loved. We ate three meals a day and never worried that we would run out of food, but we were poor. I started thinking about orphans and families living on dirt floors, and I knew it was the definition that was wrong. We were not poor. We were living in luxury.
Quite a few years later and we are now a dual income family, buying high performance dishwashers and Kindles. We live in a little ranch that I love. I also love my warm coat and boots, our ping pong table and trampoline, our bikes, our new roof and our central air. If we were living in luxury back when the kids were young, I’m not sure what you could even call this.
So, I am going to try to quit spoiling all my kids’ fun. I’ve told them I’ll dial it down; it is difficult for me though. I feel responsible for passing on important truths to them. At the top of the list is wanting them to understand that surrounding themselves with a pile of stuff won’t make them happy. And, if we’re not grateful for what we have now, we won’t be grateful when we get more. And, for the love of Pete, let’s try to do something to help orphans and people living on dirt floors!