Yesterday a young man on our street forgot his backpack on the bus home. Not such a calamity in itself until you know that his house key was inside the bag and his parents work until 6pm – the bus drops them off at 2:45pm- and it’s stinking cold outside right now. Fortunately, my oldest daughter walks from the bus with the young man and invited him to wait in our house. I was very glad that she did so as it’s too cold to wait outside one hour, let alone three and a half. It made me realize yet again how fortunate my family is in many ways. This day I was reminded of the blessing of not having to work outside the home. Four out of the five school days, I’m here when my kids get home. The fifth I’m home within an hour at the latest, depending on how my writing students are performing(our home school co-op runs later than public school).
My husband and I have never had to wonder how we would pay the bills or put food on the table. We’ve had debt, but were like minded in paying it off as quickly as possible. My paychecks in those first years went to pay extra on those debts until they were gone. I remember celebrating certain milestones in the savings account that to many would be too small to celebrate. We still prioritize our spending. After twenty years of marriage, we’re just now seriously looking to purchase bedroom furniture for ourselves. Currently, we have a water bed that DH purchased shortly after college, and we have the dresser he grew up with, which is not in wonderful shape. We didn’t do anything previously because we do have something to sleep on and to put our clothing in. The kids didn’t. We had a couch that was held up with a couple of two by fours to make it last until all of the kids were potty trained. I think that reason is self explanatory. So, we do have to consider our large purchases, but we aren’t poor.
We’ve been through occupational therapy with two kids and extensive speech therapy with one, but DH’s employer covered these at 85%. We’ve had counseling sessions for five and half years with our sensory child, but there was some insurance coverage on that, too. Two of the kids have been through braces, and one is yet to have them, but there is a small coverage on those as well as a discount for multiple kids. Everything helps. We’ve been able to pay for these needed services, and it helps that they seemed to stagger a bit. DD2 was able to wait to get braces until after DD1’s were paid off. DD2’s are now paid off before our son is ready for his. DS ended his speech therapy just before DD2 started occupational therapy.
We are in a wonderful church. It’s like going to a (good) family reunion every Sunday. This church body is ready to be there for each other when need arises. That can mean taking a meal to someone who’s ill, cleaning for someone recovering from surgery, helping someone move, praying for each other, and when families have had great need there have been anonymous collections for them. It’s a family by choice, and you can’t help but feel the love. I grew up in a church that was fairly cold, so I do have a frame of reference.
I grew up in a two parent home and so are our children. That’s becoming harder to find. Our family isn’t perfect, but show me one that is. Instead of sending the kids off to summer camps, day or regular, we put the money toward family vacations and have been able to create fantastic memories together. I love seeing new places, but seeing them with the kids seems to make it better.
Our kids have tender hearts. They care about the people around them and each other. No amount of money can create that. They are also not materialistic. Of course they ‘want’ the current gadgets and such, but they don’t beg or whine for them, and don’t complain when these items don’t appear under the Christmas tree. They are truly happy with a stack of paper. One year my son was given a bunch of cardboard for his birthday from my parents (yes, they had asked for ideas and I told them this would be a hit). Mom saved round pieces from frozen pizza, boxes of all shapes and sizes, and added a bit of tape. She had been a little hesitant, not fully trusting that this would be a winner, but the reaction they got proved how much it was appreciated. This crew of mine is truly thankful for the things they have and receive. They also have wonderful imaginations and use them frequently.
Many times I am thankful that we no longer live in the big city areas. It’s good to be in a smaller town with a half acre lot. We’re on a friendly cul-de-sac and our kids can ride their bikes without us feeling the need to watch them constantly. I miss being in the country some times, but never the cities. That was fine when it was just DH and I, but not with a family.
It’s just good to be reminded of the blessings in our lives, big and small.