Mark and I lay awake the other night, my head on his chest, his arm lazily stroking my back, and we talked about what the hell we were going to do about the new year. Financially we're hitting a huge wall, one that scares the shit out of me. We discussed all the ways we can cut spending, how to bring more in and how scared it makes me feel when I examine our balance sheet. Parenting has been such a struggle of control for me that it's so hard when I see another aspect of my life slip out of my grasp. I don't like the debt we've run up and don't quite know how to manage to get out of it. I do know that we mustn't create any more in 2008.
So no more Starbucks or Jamba Juice. No more eating out because I don't feel like cooking. No more going to the gym. Mark will have to travel more to make the big bucks along with working as a residential carpenter locally. I will see if I can manage two jobs. Nothing new for the girls. Everything must simply tighten.
As frightened as it makes me, it really is a good thing. I look at some of the goals for the year I have scribbled on a bit of paper and I see that 2008 is about letting go. I want to clean out the junk we have stored all over this house, accepting that there really is no reason to hold onto term papers from over 10 years ago. I want to simplify our lives in every way I can. I'm giving up the need to have something to do every single day and accepting that down time at home is OK even if it takes some adjusting to for the girls. I'm saying no to new commitments as often as possible and focusing on the little girls that run this place. I'm thinking about all the ways I can simply let me life be run by the universe instead of trying so hard to KNOW what's next for us all. I'd also like to let go of thirty pounds on this body of mine.
Conversely, I want a flock of chickens. I want to dig my hands in the dirt by finally putting in a proper garden. I want to eat food we grew and limit the amount of certain foods in our diet. I want to get really good at meal planning so we buy less from the store and eat more of what's in season. I want to make this house and her two acres feel like a retreat from the world out there, so we can relax and renew while we walk her canyons and work in her soil. I want to stop looking for more and simply find what I need.
I need to remember that so far in my life, the universe has handed us what we need and just the right moment like the recent unexpected gift from Mark's grandfather that will buy us some time with this financial uncertainty. I was again reminded of this last night while I talked with my mom about how the floors for the bedroom ran more expensive than we could afford. I was telling her how frustrated I am at the prospect of not getting my bedroom back for weeks or months as we tried to come up with the best option and find the money to pay for it. "Hold on a moment," she said, "I'll be right back." I sat and waited for her and she came skipping back with a check in her hand. "Will that cover the difference?"
I was shocked but managed to stammer out a response, "I wasn't asking for money."
"I know, but I happen to have an extra bit right now and I want you to have it."
"But we can take care of ourselves... it just might take a while."
"I know. But I want to give this to you. I may not have extra money next time, but I do right now so just say thank you."
I can't tell you how fun it was to hand my husband the check and tell him to get cracking.
Yesterday we got another call from the ambulance people. Our insurance paid most of the bill but then kicked the balance back to us despite the fact that we've already paid the out of pocket maximum for the year with Mark's surgery. It was all I could do to not burst into tears while talking to the guy on the phone; this isn't the only bill they've done this with and it's just really stressing me out. As soon as I hung up I sat down and pushed the heals of my hands into my eyes and tried to hold back the tears. "Why are you covering your eyes?" Lily asked.
"I'm trying not to cry."
"I'm scared, kido. And when I feel scared I sometimes cry."
"You know, Mom," she said, "when I'm scared I just run away."
I laughed out loud while sweeping the tears from my cheeks and then told her, "I wish I could sometimes but when you're an adult, sometimes you have to just deal with it."
She mulled this over for a while and then clambered up into my lap to give me a hug. "How's it make you feel when I cry?" I asked her.
She shrugged her shoulders .
"Does it make you feel scared?"
"Nope." She shrugged again, "it doesn't make me feel anything but like hugging you."
Then she smothered me with kisses.I think it's safe to say that despite the stress we started this year with, it's going to be an amazing year.