broke and rich, too

by humanmama on September 18, 2012

I was dropping my middle child, dear three-year-old, off at Preschool this week and the director of the school asked me how we were doing. She has two kids, in college now, and a husband who she’s going to visit soon, on sabbatical in Switzerland. “How’s it goin’? How you feelin’?” she asked, in her awesome Minnesota accent.

I paused. “Good, actually,” I said. “Really good. Can’t complain!” Then I added “You know, tired, and broke, and busy, but really good. Blessed.”

And she said, “Isn’t that something? When you need sleep the most, you get the least? And when you need money the most, it’s when you  have the least? I was just talking to my husband in Switzerland, on the phone. I said ‘Now I get enough sleep every night, and I have enough money to buy what I need, and the house is big and empty and always clean with the kids at college, and you know what? I can’t tell if I’m happy or sad.'”

And, just like her dichotomy, I couldn’t tell at that moment if I longed for that time or dreaded that time: the time when the kids are gone, and we can laugh about being sleep deprived, or showing up with spit-up running down our sleeves, or thinking “which to buy this trip? Razors or shampoo?”

At times I think I long for that time, when they’re older. But then I remember that little blurb I wrote–you know the one–it’s riiiight theeere ————————> (okay, up a little and to the right)

You know, the one that says “Someday you will wish you had it all back.” Really: you will. How do I know? Because every 80-year-old lady this side of the Danube has grabbed me fiercely and told me. “Don’t wish this time away! Someday you’ll long to hold them in your arms again, dearie.”

And I know they’re right. Because no matter how broke we are right now, we’re really pretty rich. When you think about it.

Guy Smiley thinks so, anyways

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