Easter Sunday, and we’re enjoying a moment of peace. A precious commodity: peace.
I was startled into an unexpected revelation the other day. Talking with my man, I commented on how I have more peace in my family, more happiness and contentment, in my own home, than I can recall ever having in my whole life. It’s remarkable to me because this is also the worst financial times I can recall since I was a child living in a two-room cabin with six people and no running water and no electricity.
In those days, I knew what it meant to be poor. As I grew through my teen years I vowed never to be poor again. I committed myself to accept any suffering but poverty. I refuse to go hungry again (ha ha, I picture Vivien Leigh as Scarlett, shaking her fist at the sky, “I will never go hungry again!”).
My partner also had difficult times as a child. To him, poverty is being cold. When money is the source of my fear, I fear hunger. When it’s the source of his fear, he fears being cold. That’s what a poor childhood and winters in New England will teach a boy.
Flash forward to 2009. Here we are, poor again. Possibly as poor as in those days, but it’s hard to tell, because in the 80s people didn’t have the option to live on credit cards. If they didn’t have money, they didn’t pay the heating bill, or buy food. If we don’t have the money, we sigh and pull out the plastic.
In the intervening years I forged ahead to rapid financial success. I was able to send money to my mother. I stopped telling my father when I got new promotions and made more money than he did. The paychecks were good, but my personal life was a disaster. It became more and more of a disaster as time went on. Turns out, though I didn’t know him at the time, my man was also doing very well financially. And his personal life was also a disaster.
Luckily both he and I have managed to do some learning, growing, maturing in those years. About the time our financial worlds began to fall apart, we were also making strides to become better partners to whomever we ended up with in the future. We’re far from where we want to be, but we are happy to be together.
I’ve been wanting money all my life. Now, when I don’t have it, I am happier with my partner than I’ve ever been. There must be a lesson in there.
Still. It must be possible to be happy with my man AND to buy groceries.
Hope tugs at me relentlessly as it has done to all humanity since Pandora’s egregious behavior. We will get through this together. At least we are together. And we’ll provide a beautiful loving home for our daughter. We will all eat enough and stay warm. Somehow.
It’s Easter Sunday and the tall young woman who used to be my baby sends sparkles of delight through the house with her childlike glee. She played with every single item in a heaping Easter basket, and went outside in the rain to find eggs. Like I did so many years ago, she’ll beg us to re-hide them for her all day long.
Now it’s after the egg-hunt. After breakfast. After calls to Daddy and Gramy. We’re content and safe and loved. And as much as we struggle, this truly is a beautiful life.