The Princess turned 22 today;
When she was born, Hubby and I were newly married. We lived in nice two-bedroom apartment on the North side of Chicago. We had Blondie, who was 4 1/2 years old. I quit my job to stay home with the kids and Hubby made $22,500/year. We thought we had it made.
We were poor (relatively). We were happy. Hubby travelled a total of two-and-a-half hours a day to and from work. On Friday nights, I would have the laundry all packed up for him, and he’d spend a few hours at the laundromat. When he came home, I’d do all his ironing.
For a while, I didn’t have a car. If I wanted to go to the store or anywhere, I’d put The Princess in the snugli and Blondie in the stroller. We couldn’t get too many groceries or Blondie would tip over. Sometimes, I’d put both girls in the stroller, go to the park and hit tennis balls against the fieldhouse wall for exercise while Blondie ran around. When Bro came around, I’d have a baby in the snugli and two in the stroller. Never stopped me.
Hubby and I were too young and ignorant to realize that things were tough. It never occurred to us that what we were doing was hard.
We were in love and we were so happy with the kids and our little family life.
Now The Princess is on the cusp of her new life. We gave her everything she ever wanted, materially, since we knew how hard it was to do without. We wonder in retrospect if she would have been better off if we had given her less and made her work harder.
I guess the point is moot now. When she moves out, she will be poor. She will do without. Will she notice? Will she be unhappy? Will she rise to challenge, like Blondie has?
I’d like to think that although she is accustomed to the finer things in life, she has a good enough head on her shoulders to be able to see that the trade-off will be worth it. She may do without, but she will know that what she has is hers, and what she does is what she decides, and no matter what, she will always have love.
And she will always have a safety net. Just in case. As will all our other children.
Starting out from nothing has made Hubby and me so grateful for what we have earned and achieved. I can only hope that someday my children will feel the same way.
Happy birthday, Princess. With heartfelt wishes for the life you want to have. We love you.