Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Am I happy?

Dale and I still write Christmas lists. Despite being happily married for seven years and a couple four more than that, we still need guidance to give each other what they want. That's a whole other post, trying to please one's spouse. Let's just stick with Christmas lists and happiness for this time around.
In compiling mine, I wonder. What do I need? Not much. What do I want? Lots, but most of it would be on his list too, besides which it would take a winning lottery ticket to provide it instantly. So what else is there?
Which gets me to ruminating, What makes me happy? Would I be happy if I received no gifts this Christmas? What do I want most?
I want my children to have what they need most. They have food, clothing, shelter. Two parents who love and live with them, one of whom sees to their daily needs, like nose wipes and lunches.
I want a happy, healthy husband who knows I love him more than anyone or anything. Sometimes I forget that when my temper flares (you do know I'm Irish, right?), but according to him, that keeps me from being absolutely perfect. No dummy, he.

A while back, my college alumni paper had a bit about another alum who was doing missionary work somewhere, helping native peoples build houses and get potable water. He might have been in the Peace Corps; I don't remember.
Reading that, I started to feel down on myself. What was *I* doing to change the world? I was busy deciding whether to serve macaroni and cheese or Spaghetti-O's, washing dishes and pairing socks, while this other person who went to the same college I did was getting write-ups for improving the life of an entire village. My insignificance bothered me.
A friend (and fellow alum) had some consoling words, though I have to paraphrase as my memory fails. She said something like, Our day-to-day lives are important because they support him. If everyone were out digging wells in developing countries, who would be at home reading about it? One high school teacher worded it a little more baldly: "Someone has to flip the burgers."
Which all leads me to this. Am I happy with the life I have? I'm not globe-trotting, giving lectures in French on what Victor Hugo would think about the October riots. I'm not writing weighty tomes on Shakespeare's significance in Elizabethan England. I'm not winning Teacher of the Year awards from any national organization--or any organization, as a matter of fact.
Nope. I'm just trying to get my five-year-old to read, my three-year-old to learn his letters, and my two-year-old to use the toilet, while staying one step ahead them in the laundry, dining, and housekeeping departments. And figuring out what Santa can bring them (and me) that won't take up too much space in our already-overcrowded house.
Jewelry doesn't take up much space, does it?

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At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Daisy said...

I know exactly how you feel. When I first stayed home, I had left a middle management job with an excellent income. Cutting our family income in half didn't help the thoughts about whether I was doing anything important. Now I'm working part time, and it just reinforces where I should be (and hope to return in the future). Spending the days that I can at home reminds me that I am happy here and I am doing what God wants me to do, so it doesn't matter whether anyone else thinks that it is important. He does.

That also tends to make up for Christmas gifts. My husband and I haven't exchanged them since we have been married. Our parents usually give us something, and we always have some kind of family portrait done (a snapshot had to do when we have had no money or when he was deployed to Germany) for Christmas for the family. But we both know that our money is better spent elsewhere (since we have so little), and it works for us.

At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I will go to the beach for Christmas Day. I think I will thank God for the new ring my husband gave me. Thank God I can be infertile and not cry anymore about it at 43.

I think I will make all of the holier than thous ticked because I can do this.

I think I will thank God I live in Florida and am getting a Master's degree. I can thank God I am planning a career to work by my hubby.

Marriage Encounter people tell us that if you don't exchange gifts, there is a problem. You put your children ahead of your marriage. They are not your marriage.


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