There are little things, every day, that remind me how lucky I am.
I forget sometimes, with the business of just getting through one day after another, one problem after another, one annoyance after another, that I am a very fortunate soul indeed. Don’t get me wrong, I will still complain about these things — and, as you know, quite vociferously, too — but I do recognize my good fortune.
Lately, I have complained about the weather. And this is because a) February is sucktacular and 2) we are freezing our collective whatzis off here. Oh, and also c) I hate winter. So, yes, I have been complaining.
And the other morning was no exception, when it was -30-something with wind chill and I was facing the prospect of walking That Girl to school. I was complaining, so BDH offered to drive us.
I turned him down. I wanted to walk.
It’s not like I suddenly had some sort of Magical Winter Epiphany or something (although if ever I decide to have a feminist folk rock band, that would totally be a great name for it, would it not?). But for whatever reason, walking seemed like a good idea.
As much as I may complain about it, I really do like walking my daughter to and from school. There’s much to love about it, actually, even on these winter days. We chat about stuff. She bubbles with excitement as she tells me about her day. We play games like kicking chunks of ice or pebbles along the sidewalk. It’s nice.
I love to walk, holding hands together. Some days she would rather walk by herself, and that is okay. But more often than not, she slips her hand in mine and we walk together. Or she holds my hand for support, or reassurance, or companionship. Maybe all of the above.
Lately, I have delighted in walking behind her. My heart swells as I watch this little person, marching ahead of me with determination and purpose, growing more and more independent each day. Growing up a little bit each day. It is one of the sweetest, most heartwarming things, to walk behind that little pink-showsuit-clad child, eager and happy to go to school. I love it.
I am lucky, because there was a time when I did not think it would be something I would have in my life. I appreciate it, every day.
I appreciate it, too, because she loves school so much. Right now, it is one of her very favourite things to do. And, for a different child with as many issues as she has, it might not have been the case. She is in an excellent school with great teachers and friends who love and accept her. This might change with time, but for now I am grateful.
And, if we look at the larger issues, and were she not where she is, she might not have a chance to go to school at all. So, you know, there’s that.
So as I watch those purple boots striding purposefully ahead of me, and hear her chattering about what’s to come in her school day, I am lucky. Despite the frigid temperatures, I would not pass on these moments.
I am also lucky, too, to have the great good fortune to be a stay-at-home mom to Stinkerbelle. Years ago, when work was dismal, BDH and I decided that the income was not worth the stress and that I should stay home and become a stay-at-home mom. It was not a permanent thing; it was just assumed that eventually our kids would be old enough that I’d go back to work.
Well, as it happened, we had Stinkerbelle come into our lives, and with her came a myriad of challenges. Many of them require therapy to assist her and help her become the best Stinkerbelle that she can be. We are lucky that we are able to get her that therapy, both with the availability of resources and the cost involved. And I am very lucky, now, that I AM a stay-at-home mom, so that I can get her to where she needs to be to access those therapy sessions. It would not have been possible if I were working full time. It just wouldn’t.
A lot of the thanks for this goes to BDH, of course. He works his ass off, long hours and stressful days, so that we can afford to have me at home and taking That Girl to therapy. He really is the linchpin in all this, making it all work.
And to be fair, I DO work a little bit, part-time and from home. But it is a very unrewarding job. It frustrates me at every turn. It pays very little, compared to the other jobs I have had in my life. And I do it simply because it is a little extra cash that we can really use.
But even there, I appreciate how lucky I am. I can work from home most of the time. BDH gives me the technological support to make that possible. But he also gives me the partner support that, on days when I have reached my limit with the frustration and chaos and irrationality of my job, means he simply says, “You are so unhappy. Go ahead. Quit your job. We will manage just fine.”
And I don’t, although I may yet still. But it’s so nice to know, on top of everything he does to ensure Stinkerbelle and I are safe and warm and well taken care of, that he has got my back.
I am lucky.
I have not won the lottery. I am not famous. I am not super fit and youthful. I am not an intellectual force to be reckoned with. I do not have my dream job, or live in a dream home in some tropical locale. I do not do work that benefits mankind or saves lives.
I am way luckier than that. Because every day, I am reminded of just how good I have it. And I bet a lot of those people, with their big homes and humanitarian careers and artistic triumphs, do not know the joys of walking hand in hand with a beloved child, or of having a partner in life who supports them through any and everything.
(Not that I would turn down, say, some well-paying successes in my dream job or a nice beachfront house in some tropical clime, BECAUSE I TOTALLY WOULD LOVE THAT TOO ARE YOU KIDDING ME.)
But, all things considered, if none of that ever materialized… I am luckier, in many ways, than some of them will ever be. And luckier, in some respects, than I ever could have imagined I would be.
And every day, I am lucky to be reminded of that.