Liam and Hannah,
This post is about gratitude and appreciation. A few things have happened over the last few days that have really made me re-evaluate our lives and take stock of just how blessed and favoured we are.
You kids are really fortunate. Let me put this in simple terms so that you will understand. The life you guys are living is way up there with wonderful things like ice cream and running outside through the sprinkler and eating McDonalds chicken nuggets for dinner – all the things you like; it’s awesome. You are happy, you have everything you need and lots of things you just WANT… rather than need. You really want for nothing. And I want you to get this, to understand and comprehend that you are living large my darlings.. large. And I want us to be people who do not take that lightly, I want us to live in gratitude and constantly have a cognisance of how fortunate we are, so that we will complain less, feel sorry for ourselves less, and will feel compelled and moved to help those who are less fortunate than we are.
My definition of living large is having three square meals a day, with lots of yummy things to snack on in between, it’s been able to get into a motor vehicle, having a few bucks to get some petrol and go where you need to go, without having to stand in the rain waiting for a bus or a taxi. It’s being able to walk into a shop and buy some vests and longs and warm pj’s for winter, without even blinking. It’s having a JOB to go to everyday, and being able to draw a salary that can pay for the things you need. It’s having family around you, and a warm bed to be tucked into at night. It’s having a cell phone with internet access to keep you in touch. Standing under a hot shower or splashing about in a warm bath while you play with all your water toys – that’s living large. It’s been able to attend school and take part in extra mural activities and having your mom or dad take and fetch you in the comfort of your car seat. It’s being alive without worrying about where you next meal or you next rent payment is going to come from. It’s been able to go to a doctor and having access to medicines which will make you better, without having to stand in a queue all day at a government facility. This is MY living large.
Yesterday a bulging bag arrived from Naartjie. It’s packed with beautiful clothes, so beautiful that it made me sigh with contentment. You guys are going to look super cool this Winter – not that you need clothing to make you any cooler than you already are. This bag of clothing was another reminder of how blessed we are. Do you know there are some children out there who will be very cold this winter, who will feel a chill in their bones that you will never experience? I am so grateful that you will be warm. So grateful.
Last night, Dad was at a meeting and I was flying solo. I was busy cooking a massive chicken and veggie pie, while you two were running riot together. It took me much longer than anticipated and I was irritated and highly annoyed and I kept thinking that I still had to feed you two, bath you guys, dress and put you to bed – all alone. And when would I have time to have MY dinner because the pie would still be in the oven, and I would have to make something else for you guys to eat because if I waited for the pie it would throw the whole routine out and I was going to have to do all this ALONE. I worked myself up into such a frenzy, I ended making you scrambled egg with cheese and viennas – while the pie continued to bake away. I bathed you both, dressed you and we read a few stories and put you to bed. I was exhausted. When I did eventually tuck into the pie, I was too tired to enjoy it! And then I thought, how do single moms do this every night? Alone. I say this with much respect, I take my hats off to you moms who are doing it alone. It isn’t easy. And I am so thankful for your Dad who is involved, who helps out, who gets things done and in so doing makes my mothering job that much easier AND more enjoyable. I am amazed and awed by moms who do it alone, because I think single parent children really are blessed by the sacrifice that their moms make in doing it alone, and doing it well.
Dad got a new job a few weeks ago. It has caused a bit of a disruption to our already crazy time strapped lives. I have been so miserable with the disruption because it means we come home a bit later, which means even less time with you, Hannah. It means he sometimes works late and this means we don’t always travel together, which means more petrol and more traffic and usually an argument about who is going to fetch and drop which kid, who will be home in time to cook and why the heck did you go and have to change the routine – that’s usually what Mommy yells at Daddy. But the truth is, this new job is good for Daddy. AND in turn it will benefit us as well. And really, how can I complain about it, when there are some people who are battling to even find a job. I was talking to the tea lady at my office, she is so lovely and so helpful and always smiling, but do you know that she earns less than our Zoleka (and believe me, Zoleka doesn’t get half the salary she deserves)? For cleaning up after around 80 people for 8 hours a day? Can you even believe that? So this was another reality check for me. I am so grateful for my job and for Dad’s new job and I’m going to work really hard at getting my skewed view about how things NEED to be, versus working with what we have, in check.
So even though things can get tough, even though we worry about our overdrafts and our bulging credit cards (bulging in the wrong direction I might add) and how fat I’m getting and how Pick n Pay don’t EVER have the bubble bath I know you like and how we can’t seem to find our dream house and how bad Johannesburg traffic is. These are living-large problems, first world problems and the truth is, by complaining about such things, it makes us less humane. It makes us seem shallow, superficial and petty. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t vent or express our dissatisfaction or feel hard done by sometimes, because life would really be boring if we didn’t experience a range of emotions including sadness or anger, all I’m saying is that I want you two to grow up with an understanding of how blessed you are. Always be thankful for what you have, always consider those less fortunate than we are, and be generous with your time, talents and spending money, to help someone wherever you can.