Though both my husband and I have college degrees and beyond, we certainly haven’t chosen a life with lots of moolah. We were parents early in life, and there have been occasional moments in my children’s youngest years where I was sad about the inability to provide more material things. As I reflect on those years, I’m satisfied that we had memories with our children that money can’t buy.
Our seminary days were cramped, but filled with creative experiences. There were days my husband was sleeping in one room (he worked at night), the children I babysat were in the other beds, and my own kids would have to take their naps in random places on the floor. But those were the fun times we “camped out”. My son’s only recollection of those years is his mother chasing lizards and mice in the house--he misses those educational moments. Years later, my husband and I didn’t muster up the cash for a privacy fence. It was highly inconvenient for me to go outside every time the kids did, but without the “wall” we mixed and mingled with our neighborhood more frequently. We have yet to purchase our kids play-set equipment for the yard, but I wouldn’t trade the times we had to go to the public parks—those conversations with friends and strangers were priceless and free.
My latest want, and soon-to-be-need, is another van (the old one burst into flames, remember?). We currently have two 5-passenger vehicles, which means the three kids pile into the back-row seat. This small vehicular contraption creates intense moments of loud noise, occasional pokes and punches, and strange smells. Bucket seats and space would give me peace, but they wouldn’t give me the chuckle I had tonight. Join our family in the latest car-ride conversation:
As we pile in the car, I remind my son to let his sister in first.
Son: “Ladies first doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t even rhyme. It should be ladies last.”
Daughter 1: “That’s alliteration.”
Son: “Well, whatever. It should be fellas first and ladies last.”
D1: “Nope. Sorry. Females first.”
Son: “UGH! Who took off their shoes?”
D1: “Let’s have a stinky feet contest!!” (giggle, giggle, feet go flying)
Daughter 2: “oh….wait….I can’t catch my breath.”
D1: “Mom! Roll the windows back up, you’re letting our stink out!”
A few minutes later, “ah man, our feet aired out. Next game: baddest breath.”
It would be nice to have bucket seats with the kids spread more than arms’ length apart. I am certainly not opposed to buying equipment, fences, and vehicles to make life less complicated. But I have to wonder what opportunities, creativity, and conversations I would miss if I could have afforded my comfort along the way. I've come to realize that most disadvantages have advantages somehow in the mix, and I relish those disturbances that have alliterations somewhere in the making.