I love my family. They're so silly and crazy. I'm so grateful to God for giving me Tom and our beautiful daughters. I'm so blessed! We all are! It's funny how your heart changes after becoming a mother. I had a lot growing up - a big, beautiful house, a few big TV's, a dishwasher that I always complained about loading and unloading for my mom, a washer and dryer to use whenever I needed, central air and heat in the house, clean, running water, and everything else. Oh that doesn't sound like a lot to you?
Well, when Tom and I got married we lived in an apartment for just over a year. This apartment didn't have a dishwasher and I thought that would be fine since it was just the two of us. But we went through WAY more dishes than I thought we would so Tom and I would spend literally hours washing dishes sometimes because we were both working and busy and didn't have time to do them every day (which actually would have been faster in the long run but I digress). I was also either pregnant or had a small baby the whole time we lived there and the laundry room was up two flights of stairs and down a long hallway. A lot of times our laundry would pile up to the size of Mt. Everest because I couldn't carry Charlotte and the laundry, and the heavy detergent upstairs. We had AC and heat in our apartment but when we moved to the house we rented after that there was heat but no air. That was fine from when we moved in in January up until about May but then it started getting hot and I was getting bigger and more pregnant by the day. No AC became a problem FAST. My mom had an extra AC unit and we put it in but it was hard to cool the whole house down with just one unit. I think it was fine for normal people but my pregnant body wanted the house to be 40 degrees not 80! Haha! (Side note: the windows in that house cranked out sideways, not up and down so we had to take the entire window out, insert the unit, and we duct taped two trash bags up at the top to keep the elements out.
Hahaha! I was not laughing about it at the time but now I'm looking back and thinking about all the "back when your father and I first got married we didn't even have a window! We had to use a trash bag!" stories I can tell our kids. That'll be sure to shock them as they scroll through their iPhone 25's in 15 years. ;)
Oh, and another thing we didn't have at that house? Water. I mean, we had running water but it was from a well and we couldn't drink it or cook with it. What did we do? On top of lugging Charlotte to the grocery store and getting a huge cart full of regular groceries I'd have to load up about ten, one gallon water jugs and refill them one by one in the water aisle. It was annoying at the time but looking back I'm grateful for the experience!
Hannah, get to the point already!
Okay, okay! To round all of this up - Since we experienced all of these (first world) "hardships" it has really made me so grateful for the smallest things in my life. We as Americans take SO much for granted. Having lived without running water, without AC, and without a dishwasher, I consider them amazing luxuries now! Most people think nothing of those things. "Everyone has a dishwasher! Everyone has water!" Not quite.
Tom and I now live in a beautiful home that has central heat and air, a dishwasher (which I treat as my third child) ;), a washer and dryer right in the basement, clean, delicious, crisp running water, and all the rest of life's little, forgotten-about luxuries. I always thought my parents were a little crazy for telling us "You have it so easy compared to a lot of kids!" I had no idea what it was like to be without every convenience a middle-class home in America can afford. As a kid I thought I was deprived because my mom didn't buy Lunchables like some of the other kids' parents at school. Yeah. No. I'm so thankful for the experiences Tom and I have shared in our early years of marriage and look back fondly on the crazy first two years we've spent as husband and wife. They've made me so much more aware and thankful of everything I have. I put on a pair of $5 earrings now and I think, "Wow, these are beautiful. I'm so lucky!" You can only think that way when you've been through some rough patches and I'm thankful that we did!
By the way - I realize that many people don't even have a home or a shirt to call their own so it might sounds snobbish of me to say, "It was so hard to put gallons of water in my easily rolled cart and push it a whole 10 yards to my SUV. Life is HARD!" I fully understand that there are a LOT worse things in life than trash bag windows...like no windows at all because you don't have a roof over your head at all. BUT, just based on the way a lot of people live in America, and how I grew up, it was kind of a big deal for me and I think a lot of people reading this will relate. But I learned I can live without these things! They aren't huge deals anymore. (Aside from heat in the winter that is. But you get what I mean.) I've learned not to pass these things off as "needs" and to file them into the ' majorluxuries a lot of people go without" category.
So - in closing - I just want to challenge all of you to maybe think about the small things around you. When you take a warm shower think about those who don't have anywhere to shower at all. When you grab a glass of wine and jump on Facebook, remember to spread love and gratitude instead of complaining about your slow WiFi in a long status update (which I just did recently. I'm guilty too).
When your boss is extra annoying remember - at least you have a job.
When your button pops off your shirt remember - you have a closet full of clothes.
When you step on legos in the middle of the night remember - you have beautiful children who played happily with them.
When your power goes out for a few hours because of a storm - remember that you have a home to stay safe and dry in.
When your check engine light comes on remember - you have this problem because you have a car to get your to work/school.
Get your heart and mind thinking about every little thing around you and thank God every single day for these things. Don't take anything for granted. Not the car in your driveway and not the spoons in your drawer. NOTHING.
I hope you enjoyed this little slice of my brain!
Let me know in the comments if you've ever had any life experiences that made you much more grateful for the "small" things - I'm sure anyone reading would love to hear!
Have a wonderful day!
My name is Hannah and I'm a lucky wife to Tom, and mama bear to two sweet girls - Charlotte & Rosalie. Coffee, lipstick, sunshine, and dresses are some of my favorite things! I love to blog about God, motherhood, "wifeyhood", food, health and much more.
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