My life can be hard. Really, really hard. I’m a single mom of three boys. Two of my boys have autism; the other one is a teenager. Money is a constant struggle – I pretty much expect a shut-off notice from one utility company or another on a daily basis. There’s often a severe lack of understanding from others about the challenges in my/our lives. I worry about my kids constantly, like most parents, but have some extra worries (especially with my youngest) that most parents don’t have to cope with. I’m in physical pain pretty much all the time and have no health insurance. I also lack dental and optical insurance – my glasses are five years old or so, and I need some pretty major dental work done in the near future to stop a recurring abscess. My minivan is making funny noises when I drive it, and I drive as much as 500 miles a week for my day job. I need to do some repairs on my house – I know how to do most of them myself, but lack time, motivation, and money. (The dishwasher that won’t drain and the breaker that keeps popping are outside my realm of repair knowledge, though). I can’t seem to keep my kids in clean, matched socks. (We settle for just two clean socks per child, matching be damned). My house is always a mess – I could use the excuse that I have three sons, I could use the excuse of their autism, I could use the excuse of working two jobs as a single parent, or the constant physical pain I’m in, or any number of excuses, but really, I just don’t like doing housework. Not to mention, to quote Phyllis Diller, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” I’ve always loved that quote…
Yet despite all that, I’m generally pretty happy. Granted, I tend to be happy in a snarky, sarcastic, cynical sort of way – that’s part of my charm. (Or at least that’s what I tell myself). And there are certain situations and people that can shatter my serenity and drag me down into depression and anxiety. But alternatively, there are situations and people that can lift my spirits and make me feel like I’m flying. And really, most of my “problems” are of the first-world variety.
I have amazing kids. Challenging, but amazing. Brilliant, creative, artistic, mostly happy, polite (in public, at least), adorable… did I mention challenging? They really do keep me young at heart. Tired, but young. Yeah, I *have* to love my kids simply because they’re my kids, just like you have to love that weird aunt we all have just because she’s family. But I like my kids, too. I might not always be a perfect mom (probably pretty rarely, actually), but somehow I’ve raised these pretty cool kids anyway. (Although I would not be opposed if they would decide to start picking up after themselves a little bit better… just a little…) And we have a decent house to live in. We have food in the cupboards. We have not only heat and electricity and hot and cold running water (at least until those folks get pissy that I haven’t paid them yet), but we also have “unnecessary” stuff like phones and internet and television and a running (so far) vehicle. And an awesome if overly-clingy kitty named Yoshi.
I have some truly wonderful friends (including family members) – I’ve always been a “a few very close friends” person over “lots and lots of ‘friends'” person, but hey, quality over quantity. Those friends in my innermost circle are absolutely irreplaceable (if you’re reading this, you know who you are, and I love you guys!) I don’t know how they’ve managed to put up with me and my moodiness and my immaturity and my sometimes insanely stupid choices for so long, but so far they’ve managed. (And vice versa, for that matter). See, *I* usually like my personality, but I can see where it might be difficult for other people to put up with. 🙂
I have an incredible boyfriend. That’s a relatively new addition, but one that I feel very fortunate to have acquired. He’s smart, he’s funny (in the ha ha way, not the weird way… well, in the weird way too, but I like that), he’s hot enough to bake cookies on, he’s functionally immature, my kids think he’s awesome, my mom approves (which was a dealbreaker as a teenager, but not so much anymore now that I’m old enough to realize that she was right a lot of the time)… and for some reason that I really shouldn’t question, he seems pretty fond of me too.
I have a totally cake job that pays better than it probably should (if my boss ever sees this, I will deny I ever wrote that). Not good enough to dig me out of the debt hole I’m in, but good enough that I can feed the kids every third day or so.
I have a fair amount of brains, and allegedly a small amount of talent for writing and other English-type related thingies. I can does the maths, too.
Other than the chronic pain issues, which are more annoying than debilitating, my health is decent – I’ve managed so far to avoid most of the maladies that haunt my family – diabetes, cancer, addiction issues and whatnot.
And then I think about all the things there are to do in a lifetime that I haven’t had the chance to experience yet… so many things to experience for the first time (skydiving, hang-gliding, laser tag, para-sailing), so many things to do again (roller coasters, cross-country road trips, concerts), so many places to visit, so much stuff to learn about, so many books to read and movies to watch and video games to play and pictures to take… with all that I already have, and all that I have to look forward to, the good definitely outnumbers the bad. I just need to make sure I remember that.