My cup runneth over
When my mother in law still lived, my husband and I would go out of our way to ensure that his mom’s needs were met. Although we had our own family to see to, she was one of our top priorities.
From a financial point of view, this sometimes killed us. Especially because we have three kids and we all know that kids don’t come cheap. Something always comes up. Such is life. But with every beating our bank accounts took, we never did go hungry. Supporting two households didn’t make us destitute. We may have had to go without things at times but our needs were met. Wants didn’t quite factor in.
There were days when I resented it because here I was, trying to build a life with my husband and kids but our lives remained stagnant. Not necessarily moving backward but there was moving forward either. Some days I would rant to get it out of my system but mostly I would insist on helping. I would kind of know the need before it being brought to my attention. Call it intuition or a familiar pattern. Either way, we did it and we managed just fine. Accepting our fate and making peace with it was kept us sane initially and making us cheerful givers.
So many of our dreams were put on hold and I often wondered if we’d ever own our own house. If my kids would have the kind of education I wished for them to have and if we would someday move forward and go places. Helping people and being a cheerful giver doesn’t make you forget about your dreams or make you feel complacent about your current situation. It makes you more determined to reach for the stars. Working out alternatives and adjusting the sails somewhat. It’s what made me the Budget Barbie I am today. I don’t particularly care for shopping, but I do it quite well. Circumstances have made me a pro.
Never once did we give up on our dreams. We continued to have them. There are still so many but we’ve reached quite a bit of our goals in the past few years. Three and a half to be exact. We have been moving forward and although we experience the very same ups and downs like everyone else, we have been blessed. With good health, safety, jobs, great kids, equally great relationships with the people in our lives and mostly our marriage. I thank God every day for my husband. Who may or may not irritate the heck out of me sometimes but I do love him something fierce.
You see, in January 2016 our lives changed forever. The mother in law I loved, passed away after what seemed to be a mild heart attack. I’ll never forget the day she had it. I remember sitting at my desk at work demanding that she cough on the phone. Don’t ask me how I thought of that but I vaguely remember an email of years ago on tips for a person suffering from a heart attack. She was tired and couldn’t but I insisted. I also insisted that she go to the doctor that day. My next call was to my husband and I shouted instructions for him to take her straight to hospital because had a suspicion that it was a heart attack. Trust me, not a cool thing to tell your hubby on the phone but it was an emergency. He just had to deal and get his mom to the hospital asap.
They walked into the hospital that day and three weeks later she exhaled for the last time as we said our goodbyes. In hindsight, she said goodbye the day she was admitted. She removed her favourite pair of earrings and told my husband to give it to me. The evening after she passed on he realized the fact as he gave it to me. Another sign was how they allowed our seven year old (at the time) in to see her at visiting hours. We were prayerful and hopeful that she’d make it through. She had to… But that’s not how life works.
The pain of losing a loved one changes you. It doesn’t get better and the longing for just one more conversation seems as strong as it was yesterday. Would you believe that I still have her mobile number programmed in my phone and that I sometimes forget that she’s not a phone call away. On days when the kids did something to make us proud or those funny moments you want to share with gran. Only there’s no more gran. It does get slightly easier but not better. The bitterness eases with time and you learn to live life without them. But it doesn’t get better.
Life in general has become a bit easier and slightly more privileged financially. Knowing that we did all we could for her while she was still alive made us feel okay-ish since she’s been gone. If that makes any sense? We are moving forward towards our goals and dreams and please don’t get me wrong… We were always destined to get there someday so I don’t believe for one second that she held us back. We are exactly where we are supposed to be in life and it sort of feels like we are getting our blessings tenfold. Because of honouring my mother in law. Giving her the flowers while she lived.
During the past three years I got permanent employment and work within walking distance from home, we are awaiting the completion of our forever home (our own house!), our kids are thriving at good schools, my husband’s shifts at work changed and he’s home more often now. Our health in general is good and our family foundation is solid. Last week we celebrated our wedding anniversary and there was no gift exchange on the day. We do random gifting whenever the mood strikes and never wait for an occasion. It’s worked for us and we will continue that way although I do like to get birthday and Christmas gifts on time. But, no pressure. Especially not when my husband surprises me with the ultimate gift like he did last night. He bought me a car. A freaking car! Can you imagine how excited I am?
Material things aside, we have been blessed for a very long time. Even when my mother in law was still alive. We had the opportunity to be a blessing to her and that was a huge privilege. Knowing that we had enough to give, makes me grateful. I feel blessed. That’s why we never miss an opportunity to give. Not because we expect to receive. Oh, no. We are grateful because we are able to and we are the mere vessels.
My husband and I have not arrived but every single day we work towards our goals and never give up on our dreams. Giving has become our way of life and we would give anything to have a last laugh with his mom. Or even hear her tell us the same story we’ve heard about five times before. We miss all the little things that we’ll never have again. But… It is well with our souls.
During our marriage we’ve gone through job losses and having little to no cash to spare. I’ve been retrenched a couple of times and almost lost hope on finding permanent employment. We’ve gone through the “in sickness and health” bit of our vows when my husband nearly died of internal bleeding. A year ago I had kidney problems and thought I may just die. My aunt died of kidney failure a few years ago so you can imagine my fear. Life hasn’t always been kind. There were so many storms we had to weather and all I can do is say a big thank you (that kind of seems inadequate) and be grateful that we’re still standing. There are so many times I felt hopeless and wondered when it will be our turn. But it turns out that ‘our turn’ is every day. We didn’t get a do over when his mom passed away. We have been living ‘our turn’ while she was alive too. It is never about money or possessions.
So dear reader, today I’d like to encourage you with this…
- Never ever give up on your dream.
- Your time to thrive will come but don’t overlook your current blessings.
- Be grateful for everything in your life especially the little things.
- Cherish the people in it because once they’re gone, nothing can make them come back.
- There will always be opportunities but don’t let any pass you by.
- Everything does come to an end. Even the bad times.
- If you fall, dust yourself off and try again.
Today may not be your day. This season may not be your season. But your turn will come.