Although it’s been warm, it’s been grey and threatening to drop rain from the skies for a few days now in the Portland area, and yesterday and today it has finally followed through with the threat. Warmth and rain mean humidity, which I think is only acceptable when you are on a tropical island with a fun drink in hand, but then again, I have naturally curly hair which heads straight to frizz without passing GO in this kind of weather. It’s adorable. In a Diane Von Furstenberg– Chaka Khan– Art Garfunkle– Peter Frampton kind of way. Of course, I don’t have the fashion sense or music abilities that they do, but other than that, we’re twins, or quadruplets. At least right now. I should appreciate the fact that I have hair at all, but that’s not how appreciation usually works. At least, not when you’re immature, like I am.
I have a client who was in yesterday to get her hair colored, who was asking me if I knew any ophthalmologists. Dermatologists, gynecologists or psychologists, yes. Ophthalmologists, no. I do however know a great optometrist, if she wanted to call and get pointed in a good direction. It seems like my client is seeing stars in one of her eyes, and after spending a little bit of time with WebMD, she has learned that seeing stars can be a sign of a detaching retina. I love how WebMD can take you from a headache to dying of a brain tumor in just three clicks. My first thought was, “OMG, she DROVE here with bad vision!” No, it wasn’t it; my first thought was, “Well, if you’re going to lose your eyesight, at least you won’t have roots.” No it wasn’t. I am not THAT horrible. Well, actually, both of those thoughts crossed my mind, but my most predominant thought was “why in the world have you not already gone to the doctor??”.
I may be a ‘teeth’ kind of girl, putting having teeth before owning a car and all, but having eye sight is pretty far up there on my list too! Sometimes, though, I think that we can’t fully appreciate the things that we have, until we no longer have them, or know someone close to us who has lost them.
My husband has said several times over the years that our kids do not appreciate us, or that they don’t appreciate everything that we’ve given (and given up) for them. Each time he says that, I always say that he’s right, but that just means that we have provided them good lives, up to now, and that our children are spoiled. That is what most parents strive for, not to have spoiled children, but to make their children’s lives abundant in love, security and basic necessities. Of course, now necessities include such things as cable tv, internet and smart phones.
I did not grow up appreciating what I had, although I didn’t grow up with a lot of stuff or with the security and love that most people just freely give to their kids. I recognized and was envious of what others had that I did not, whether that was the newest pair of amazing Jordache jeans or a mom sitting in the bleachers watching a basketball game. In 8th & 9th grade, I would walk to my best friend’s house before school every day and her whole family would sit down for breakfast together. They would laugh, and talk about whatever was happening that day or they’d plan their ‘Tuna Runs’ for the week (a story for another day). I was envious of that because that was not what MY family looked like.
I was also blessed, (although I’m sure that I didn’t truly appreciated it at the time) because my friend’s mom would always set me a place at the table, complete with breakfast, a glass of orange juice and vitamins. I was included, and I was happy about that, but I think I’ve never really thought, until just now writing this, how my friend’s mother was nurturing me both with food and with belonging. They weren’t a family with a lot of money, but they shared their food with me every morning for a few years. I can appreciate that now, because I have kids and I can’t imagine them or their friends going hungry and I also see how quickly the grocery bill adds up. At the time, I was just happy to be included, and jealous that they weren’t my family, but now, I can see that there was a cost to me sitting at their table, and they were willing to incur the cost to nourish me, emotionally and physically.
Everything in life tends to be this way. The saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got, until it’s gone,” is really true. I mean, have you ever experienced the sadness and shock of finding out you did in fact eat the last Skittle, or finish the last drop of wine? Suddenly, you wish you had enjoyed them a bit more slowly!
One of the things that my grandma used to say to me, that I thought was really silly, was, “Don’t waste the pretty.” When I was younger, I thought she was just saying I was cute, but that I shouldn’t be conceited about it, but I think her message really was, everything changes. Stuff that you take for granted now, goes away. Appreciate what you have now because you don’t know what tomorrow will look like.
My kids are adults now, well, except the last one, who is closing in fast. The two oldest have had a chance to see that being an adult is not all it’s cracked up to be all the time. Handling your own stuff and buying exciting stuff, like toilet paper and dish detergent, with your own money kind of sucks.
Appreciation comes with experiencing NOT having, not by having an over abundance.