Sunday, October 19, 2014

More Small Changes

My relationship with money is weird. It's not that I don't have any, exactly. It's that I always feel like I don't have any. Spending is hard for me, thanks to a complicated childhood and some stupid decisions I made in my early twenties. The result is that I'm a bit of a tightwad. We live in a small house, mostly by choice. I'm not a recreational shopper. I'm massively freaked out by debt.

And even now when I have birthday money to spend, which ought to be the easiest thing in the world to blow on something silly, I already know I'm going to obsess about whether to buy Ikea's version* of the classic tulip table from the Pedestal Collection by Eero Saarinen or update my wardrobe or maybe there's something I actually need that I'm forgetting about. Put it toward finishing the second upstairs bedroom? I just don't know.

I'm terrible at pulling the trigger when it comes to buying things.

I don't have as many issues buying experiences. Dance class. Gas for day trips. Museum memberships and zoo memberships and nature conservatory memberships. All the memberships. Heck, just going out for ice cream nine hundred times in the summer. It's stuff that's the problem. I research things half to death, to the point where even buying something that ought to be fun like a teapot or a kitchen table is more exhausting than satisfying.

Which is why I'm more of a "improve on the small" kind of gal when it comes to my house. Like what would make the bedroom nicer? A basket, and I'll frame that print of P. at the beach that's been sitting in storage forever using the frame that's holding my Picasso print from college. Or what would improve my home's exterior, since I definitely don't have the green to do the exterior renovations I'd really like? How about a quick door update (using mainly stuff I already had)?

What do you think? Do you have any weird money peccadilloes that make your life more difficult and less fun?

P.S. - Check out my piece "10 True Things About the First Year of Parenting... the Second Time Around"

*Likely not since everything I'm reading says it's wobbly and hard to clean. Oh, well.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My Favorite Thing to Do Is Watch Her Grow

I've been trying to write a blog post for forever. It's a tough one because it's the kind of topic where it's really easy to be unintentionally insensitive. The post is supposed to be about loss and being grateful for average. I know people who've lost a child. People who've had to give up their entire idea of what raising a child will mean. And as a result, I've found my potential sentimentality tempered when it comes to ages and stages and the passage from one to the next.

Because I know how very lucky I am to be witnessing that passage. So many parents don't get to do that. More than you might think, whether because of pregnancy loss or still birth or because they've lost a child or the child they have is on a different path - one that's not exactly what we'd call growing up.

Being able to watch my child grow and learn and thrive is a privilege. It's not exactly a rare privilege but it's one most of us never think about. We hold on to the the past, misty eyed for what came before, or look far into the future forgetting to appreciate the now.

There's nothing wrong with nostalgia but there's nothing wrong with children growing up, either. It's wonderful and amazing and something to enjoy, so enjoy it. And while you do, spare a thought for those who can't and would give anything for that first day of kindergarten or to drive a newly minted adult to a college three states away.

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