I am ashamed to admit it, but I had a major meltdown last week.
Do you want to know why?
It’s because I caved into jealousy.
Jealousy that led to pity and sorrow.
I sure did.
I jumped on the pity party bus and went for a long ride around “they don’t appreciate me” park, and stopped for awhile at the “I could have nice things if I didn’t have so many mouths to feed” cafe, and then sped down the “nobody appreciates me” parkway while I cried the ugly cry with fat, stupid tears like a baby. While I was on my little journey I took note of my friends on Facebook traveling to romantic destinations while I went nowhere, enjoying lunches and manicures with their besties while I layered on the 19th coat of gunked up nail polish on my cracked and chipped toes and my feet look like hooves, and I saw them dressing up in sparkly frocks and sinner shoes as they enjoyed a Friday night with live music while I listened for the 39th time to “Wheels on the Bus”.
I see them at cross fit working out and I see the interior of their spotless homes with their matching furniture and their designer pieces as they sit around chatting with friends over a nice dinner. A nice, quiet, adult dinner where I don’t have to stuff paper towels in my ears to dull the noise.
I also noticed women my age driving around in new luxury cars with designer purses sipping Starbucks that cost $4 and the interior of their cars were spotless! It has been 18 years since my car was spotless. Currently, my left headlight is being held into place with clear duct tape and my right rear window doesn’t work and the interior door panel is falling off. You have to open the door from the outside. And there is no working air conditioning.
I convinced myself that these ungrateful, loud, messy children didn’t care about my sacrifices and my dedication to them and could care less that I haven’t had a facial in 14 years. I have to repeat myself 27 times to get them to do anything around here and they never, ever turn off lights or unplug anything. I mean, why should I spend $400 on an electric bill when I could spend $400 getting much needed BOTOX! These kids are giving me wrinkles. Or God forbid we could go on an actual date without trying to move heaven and earth and refinance our entire food budget!
We haven’t been out to eat or seen a movie in over a year.
Carrabba’s MISSES me.
Oh I was mad. I was working myself up into a good woe is me.
I dejectedly announced that I was not going to make them delicious smoothies, I was not going to be picking up after any of them any more, that I would not be reminding them to do their chores, and that in one day this house would look like an episode of Hoarders and they would all be grounded. It was time they think for themselves that I was not Julie the cruise director.
I took away their X Box games and hid them in my room.
That’ll teach them.
And then I cried. I cried and felt sorry for myself.
This lasted for a few hours. I know, right? So not like me.
I was beginning to wonder what was happening to me, and then I realized it.
It was a spiritual thing.
What a hypocrite I was! Teaching my kids that money can’t buy happiness, that God supplies all our needs, that a fancy car and the trappings of our society aren’t what life is all about… and then I get sucked into it!
I did what I should have done in the first place when I felt that twinge of envy, and I prayed.
I prayed, and I asked God to forgive me.
Forgive me for being weak and selfish.
Forgive me for being shortsighted and stupid.
I have more blessings and love and laughter than anyone I know.
I am blessed with a husband who loves me who loves these kids, loves to cook, loves to dance, and loves God. How rare is that??
I am blessed with a car, a roof over my head, a pool my kids can swim in, and food to feed them all. Just being able to feed all of them is a miracle!
I am an American, I am safe, I have opportunity, and that is something that half the world covets.
I have no business whatsoever complaining or feeling sorry for myself. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, and that comes at a cost.
I chose this life. I chose to love and shelter children, to reach out to neighbors and hurting women, and I chose to sacrifice so they could have a better life. Nobody forced me, I chose it.
And, even in those rare moments where I envy someone else’s glamorous lifestyle, I wouldn’t trade what I have for any of it.
What I have can’t be bought.
It’s messy, it’s hard work, it’s inconvenience, and it’s expensive. It’s exhausting.
It’s also amazing, fulfilling, exhilarating, and priceless.
A glamorous life is great, I used to live one back in the day, but it doesn’t compare to the life I have now.
I want to leave this world exhausted and broke knowing I spent everything I had and every ounce of energy trying to make a difference in the lives of others.
Besides, you can’t fit a zillion kids into a Lexus no matter how hard you try and they would just mess it up anyway.