Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Had, Have not

I should know better than to feel this way, but that doesn't really help so much at the moment. I just dropped my girl off at a friend's house for a slumber party tonight. (It's vacation this week.) I googled for directions to the house and figured it was probably going to be a nice neighborhood. And indeed it was--big, beautiful houses on big lots. I dropped her off, gave her a hug and a kiss and went on my way. And proceeded to feel more and terrible as I drove home away from those big beautiful houses on big lots back to my duplex that I can barely afford, and even still with the trashy neighbor downstairs, in a much more modest neighborhood.
Yeah yeah. I know it's not supposed to matter. We have a nice enough home with a fireplace even and a little side patio where I can plant flower beds in the summer, but I grew up in a big beautiful houses and it was nice. We're supposed to say it doesn't matter, as long as we give our children all the love and guidance they need. As if somehow having money would preclude us from being able to do that. I think sometimes that's just a leap in logic people make when they can't afford as much. It makes me feel crappy because I can't provide that kind of life, at least not right now I can't. And even the house I did have that I had to move out of to get away from my ex and save my sanity isn't all that great. This is terrible but I'm worried she'll come home and ask me why we don't have a house that nice. What can I say other than that it is a result of the choices I have made.
Sure, I realize if I had made different choices that led me to the big beautiful home at this point in time I wouldn't have the girl I have right now and she wouldn't have had the experience of being a baby in Hawaii. She wouldn't have spent seven years of her life living in Japan and wouldn't be bilingual. She wouldn't have had the four or five trips to Hawaii that we took during those years. She would have still had the summers in New Hampshire since this is where we would have been to begin with, but she wouldn't have had anything to contrast them with. I wouldn't be who I am and she wouldn't exist, so it's a stupid thing to ponder in the first place.
Still, as someone who got to grow up privileged to live in a nice house with nice stuff, it's frustrating to know that I'm not providing the same for my girl. My folks didn't grow up rich. It's not like I'm letting down some long standing family tradition. Most of the time I don't think about it much really. Probably because thinking about it makes me feel like somewhat of a failure.


Heidi said...

the big beautiful houses probably aren't as nice as they seem. the families that live in them are probably out of touch with each other because mom and dad work too much to keep their necks above the rising tide of their debts.

Bob said...

We lived in a duplex for many years before we finally bought a house. My son had a room that I built in the basement and the three girls shared a single room.

Oddly enough, our home was never empty and they had friends over all the time. It is how you fill your house with people and love that matters, not the size or the neighborhood.

Peruby said...

I do the same thing with my daughter and feel the same way too. More often than I want to.

mama said...

yeah, isn't it easy to doubt how much we really are doing for our little ones? and question if we really are doing enough? though, she is rich in experience, and I am sure she will treasure that, especially as she gets older, where she will be able to use that to accomplish whatever she wishes. As one of the rules on my old "Maui Rules" t-shirt goes, "He who dies with the most stuff, still dies." give yourself a pat on the back mama! :)

Pam said...

Thanks for the comments.
I know better, or at least I should know better than to suck into that perspective. It really did sting though.
I guess it caught me off guard. Life is not perfect. I am certainly not perfect. If we raised our kids to expect everything to be perfect, they'd be in for such a hard fall when they went out into the world and fended for themselves.