Well, as promised, our New Year’s resolution wasn’t upheld. We tried, kinda, but a job relocation closer to family is pulling us out west where the columbines grow wild in the great state of Colorado.
As we’ve been packing up, saying goodbyes, and eyeballing our favorite haunts one last time, we’ve thought about how fortunate we’ve been to have had the ability to dip into southern culture and now move to the mountains where we’ll be closer to family.
“But Daddy, we only had one scoop.” this single phrase uttered by Amelia after a dairy dessert drizzled with chocolate had me breathing deep to find calm.
Gratitude, appreciation, and acknowledging that not everyone has the same life is, without question, one of the single most important lessons we’re working to impress on our kids. Amelia and Hazel are navigating an age where one scoop of ice cream, 3 days at the beach, or a new pillow pet elicits the desire for chocolate toppings, a trip to Disney, and webkinz.
And, there are few things that make my skin crawl faster to a red faced response than something/someone/our kids implying we need more after doing, what I perceive, is in excess of what is needed.
Excess what? While I generally speak of things that are bought, our daughters also have a Mom and Dad who spend the bulk of their “free time” with them. This is not a sacrifice for us, but when they claw our arms complaining that we’re always on our phones as we squeeze in a game of Blitz before bed, its hard not to say “Do you know how lucky you are? Are you aware of how much time we spend together?”
Ugh, phrases I know I’ve thought and only hope I haven’t said. We don’t want our girls growing up feeling ashamed or guilty about the lives that, ultimately, we are giving them. And if we simply take things away when they don’t say thank-you, or when they ask for more, it may put too much emphasis on the power of that “thing”. And, things shouldn’t have power.
Like anything, it comes down to modeling and explaining. With enough of both, hopefully, they’ll, we’ll, be grateful for all we have, even when/if we feel like we have nothing at all.
I started this, my last post, thinking of ways we never fully felt like we could be ourselves while living here, not always feeling like we “fit in”. As I worked to compose my feelings, I realized I was asking for that extra scoop of ice cream. It’s not necessary to feel like we don’t have “enough”, or find faults and criticize “things” that we couldn’t control in every life experience. So, listening to my own advice, I’m going to be grateful for what we did gain.
Thank you Rocket City Mom, chance encounters at the YMCA and Vertical House Records, winning the neighbor lottery, white sauce, hot August days by the pool, those of you who read what I wrote, and all the other events and people that helped make this temporary stay what it has been, a satiating single serve ice-cream cone.
Do we want more? Could we have chosen another flavor? Doesn’t matter, I’m going to focus and reflect on what we had, and those we’ll miss.
Andrew Meyer is a Special Education teacher from Madison, Wisconsin, whose wife’s job relocation changed their family roles and physical location. He's now a stay-at-home dad in Madison, Alabama, to two awesomely creative, sometimes challenging, and mostly sweet five and two-year-old girls who fill his days, nights, and in-between spaces. When with or without them, he writes, works-out, wonders, wishes he wouldn’t worry, wrestles with his wife’s commitment to her job, and listens to music. You can also find him at www.papasense.wordpress.com, on Twitter @papasense, and Facebook.