Yesterday we went to the boardwalk to celebrate. See, I recently got a job. To me, this is a big deal because I haven't been paid for what I do in just about 9 years. Getting my first paycheck means a lot to me. It means that I could finally go into my purse and take out a couple bucks to get the kids an ice cream without feeling like I'm dipping into the weekly bill funds. It means that right now, I have regained that tiny ounce of independence I had put aside when I left work to be a stay-at-home mom.
I have always been happy staying at home and do not regret a single second of any of it. That little powerful ounce of independence just sort of boosted me up to a new level of happiness. When I first got my paycheck, I spent it 16 different ways in my head. I bought a new outfit, took my family out to dinner, got everyone new shoes, spent half of it at Five Below on crap I'll never use, and browsed the mall with all my bags and my tiny dog on my hip. Remember, this is all in my head. If I really spent it, I would probably have had enough for a nice dinner and that' s about it.
Anyway, back to the boardwalk. As we were leaving, my little son put his head down and looked sad. I asked what was wrong, and he said, "I'm just sad because I didn't get anything today." His little face was so precious. I wanted to run back up and get him a hermit crab or something. But then I thought 'What the heck am I doing? What have I been teaching these kids? We don't need any more things. We've got it all!'
I then went on to explain to my son what we did get that day at the boardwalk:
-We got to spend time with our family.
-We got to have lunch together which is a rarity for a weekday.
-We got to see a blimp, 2 banner airplanes and a bunch of kites flying overhead.
-We got to enjoy the perfect weather - not too sunny, not too hot. Just perfect for walking the boards.
-We got to play mini golf and even take a few mulligans because it wasn't too crowded.
-We got to walk hand in hand smelling the ocean, suntan lotion and boardwalk fries.
-We got to eat ice cream on an open bench while watching all the different people walk by.
-And when we left, we still got to be together.
We got a heck of a lot.
My son kind of understood what I was talking about, but not really. It's a hard concept to understand - that happiness isn't in things, it's in yourself and in the people you love.
Yes, I spent some of my first paycheck for some pizza and ice cream on the boardwalk, but the rest of it is going in the bank. We've already got enough stuff. I'm in for a little less money spending and a LOT more time spending.