So I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for myself lately. Waah waah, things are tough with Peeta’s school. Waah waah, Bucket hasn’t gotten a raise from his stupid company since before the dawn of time. Waah waah, I am having a hard time trying to raise money and children at the same time. Waah waah, no one at work appreciates me. Waah waah, the contractor fixing our basement threw out his back and started work a whole week later. No One’s Life Is As Hard As Mine.
It’s hard trying to teach kids to be grateful when you are being an ungrateful wretch yourself. But nonetheless, I try. And not just those frigging Facebook lists every day in November. At dinner every night, we say something we’re grateful for. It can be anything from having a nice dinner to being glad you didn’t die from Peeta’s toxic farts. You can find gratitude anywhere, and I’m trying to teach the kids that it’s not just about the big things. The problem is, I’ve been having a tough time finding it myself.
The other day in the car, Noodle was listing off all the billion things she wants for Christmas and I was talking to her about being grateful for the important things and not just toys. We started listing things: we have a lot of love, we’re healthy, we’re happy, we have good food, we have good schools, our house is warm.
The next day the furnace died.
So this weekend, our house was frigid. Bucket spent all day yesterday picking apart the furnace and vacuuming it and cleaning it with a toothbrush. And it still had an error light. The plumber came today with all kinds of gadgets and figured out that it was a $65 broken part. He will fix it and hopefully it will stay fixed and we won’t have to spend a zillion dollars on a new one.
My friend Sharon (of the first playdate fame) just posted this on her blog as I was getting dinner ready. It was just what I needed to read to stop feeling so fucking sorry for myself. And I realized that I was sitting in my warm house on a frigid day, thanks to my gainfully employed and clever engineer husband who fixed the heat, cooking my kids a goddamn organic baked rigatoni for dinner and marinating in self-pity. What an asshole.
Even before this happened, I was talking to the kids about which charities we will donate to this year. Each kid gets to pick one, and it’s a tough call because there are so many people in need. And my kids know about need. They have seen kids begging in the streets. They have seen true, awful, heartbreaking poverty. One has lived it. We talk about hardship a lot. It’s going to be difficult to just choose two.
As for me, I am going to start really being grateful for my life and the things I have and even for the shit that accompanies it, because that shit is way better than so many other people’s. I am going to keep talking to my kids about gratitude and try to remember to be grateful myself. And I am going to donate to these guys this week.
Go read Sharon’s post, because she is far more eloquent than I (I know, right? What a surprise!), and she lists some other people who could use donations. And if you can’t donate, being truly grateful is enough. It really is.