Monday, January 8, 2018


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This past weekend, we took down all of the Christmas decorations, which always makes me a bit sad. I love reveling in the holiday cheer, and being surrounded by the tree and all of the lights and festivities. It's a long grey march through the winter months until Spring time returns.

This year, like last, Sara made out like a bandit. Among her many gifts that Santa brought her, is this playhouse and slide that she loves!

But as my house is overtaken with more and more toys as time passes, and I'm packing up tons of baby clothes, many of which Sara has only worn a few times, I know that she's being overindulged in everything that childhood has to offer. My husband and I even joke about it at times. I sometimes wonder if it's too much, or why we do it, even though I already know the answer to that. It's because I'm overcompensating for some difficult experiences I had in childhood.  

For most of my childhood, I grew up without a lot of money. You could say that we were very poor. It didn't become an issue for me until I was around seven, and we moved to Georgia. I spent my earliest years living in various apartments and rental houses in a few different states, but when we moved to Georgia that year, our financial situation became a huge burden for me, and an embarrassment. 

The first place we lived there was a little trailer, and I'm not going to lie, it wasn't nice. It was pretty ratty. Within my first few days of starting my new school, a few of the kids ridiculed me about it, and one, whose family owned the land our trailer sat on, reminded me every day about how lowly we were, and with a whim, his family could "have us thrown out on the streets." I know now, that this kid was just boasting, and a jerk, and actually wasn't in a much better off financial situation than we were at that time, but his and the other's words still made me feel low and afraid that our homelife was unstable. 

Not long after moving, my mom did get a fairly good job at the local Wal-Mart, and one day, brought home a shirt with big block letters saying "Wal-Mart" across the front, in which I made the huge, unfortunate mistake of wearing to school one day. From that day forward, I became "WalMart." I was "WalMart Fabulous" until I graduated from high school. I never lived that one down. I did wear a lot of hand me downs and clothes from the big WM until about 8th grade, when I started demanding better quality clothes from the most popular mall stores where everyone else shopped. My parents were better off financially by then, and obliged. Even in late high school, dressed much better than in years past, I would still hear daily sneers from some classmates about my "Wal-Mart" attire, even when I protested, "No, this is from Express, or Limited..." they'd laugh, and go, "From the Wal Mart Express." I really think that even if I came to school dressed from head to toe in Gucci, that it wouldn't have made a difference to anyone. I made the decision then, that as an adult, I'd never wear anything but high end fashion, and my kids would always have the trendiest outfits, and would never feel unworthy because of what they wore, which is an absurd take, but after years of being ripped on about my attire, it seemed a logical outcome for me. 

A second point of contention for me as a child was our house. After about a year in Georgia, my parents finally bought their first house in a popular neighborhood. I was ecstatic, and I thought that finally I would fit in with everyone else, and they'd leave me alone. After all, every day, I heard someone crack a joke to me about our poorness, either behind my back or to my face. I pretty much felt like trash and riff raff, and it was a huge contributing factor to my social awkwardness, which I still struggle with to this day. 

But of course, it still wasn't enough. Our house was extremely small, and in the back of the subdivision on a dirt road, surrounded by large patches of woods with very little lighting. Many of my friends weren't allowed to visit, because although it was in a big neighborhood, it still felt dark and secluded. Also, I heard a lot of remarks from peers about how tiny and small our house was, even though they didn't intend it to be in a mean way. I soon grew very self conscious about it, and I was envious of others who lived in larger homes. We had never lived in a multi level home, and to me, a big, two story home became something to be desired, and was a goal I made for myself in life. Our neighborhood sat across the street from another, very affluent subdivision full of large, stately homes, and I used to ride my bike through that neighborhood, daydreaming about what it would be like to live in one of those homes, and never have to struggle for anything, and never have any worries, and never hear someone crack a joke about you having two of some sort of coins to rub together. Of course, I know now that that's not the case. Those people worked very hard to get those homes, and everyone has struggles, even it its not visible from the outside. My parents did the best with what they had, and I feel bad now for hating that house that we lived in, and for being resentful of them for their financial situation, or when I begged them to find a bigger house somewhere else, so I could be like everyone else. They eventually did move in to a larger home in a better neighborhood towards the end of my time in high school, when they did become better off financially, I should add, but I still felt like an outcast at that point, and I just couldn't wait to graduate and go off to college somewhere else for a change. 

And I guess the third biggest thing for me about being a child of not much means was not being very well traveled. Sure, we made a few weekend trips to Disney, and a few staycations to some hotels in Jacksonville and here and there, but coming to back to school after a long holiday, and listening to the stories of those whose families traveled to Europe, or Australia, or their favorite ski resorts or beach resorts was hard. All through school, especially in middle and high school, I felt that I was missing out on the best experiences of life, and it made me angry. I swore that if I ever had children, that I would travel with them often, and give them memorable experiences. I did have a few good travel experiences, though, later on. In high school, I was able to take a Caribbean cruise with family, although my parents didn't go. I wished that they would have. My dad and I made a trip to Britain and to New York when I was in college, which was great fun. But as a child, I wished that I could have had those travel experiences with my family, like my classmates, and have something exciting to talk about when returning to school.  

Now that I am an adult with a family, I find that I have been overindulging myself, and now Sara, too. Since moving to Seattle, and getting my first job out of college, I've become a big fan of fashion, and I do love designers, and all of the finer things in life! I'm a master at consignment shopping and finding good deals. I try to be financially responsible, and keep my debt under control. I try to pay any credit card debt off within a month of making a purchase. Dressing Sara has been my vice. I love all of the cute baby clothes, and most of the time, when I go shopping now, I come home with something for her instead of me. I'll admit that she does have some designer duds that I managed to find out and about, or on one of the many Instagram Boutiques that I follow. I often get compliments on what a little "fashionista" she is, and it does feel nice! When she starts school, though, I'll remind her that her clothing doesn't define her worth, but knowing how kids are, and the desire to fit in, I'll do my best to keep her well dressed, and I'm looking forward to going on shopping trips with her, and seeing her sense of style and individuality grow. I just don't want her to go through what I did. Ever. 

As I've said in the past, traveling is still important to me, and is one thing I won't compromise on.  Since having Sara, we've started going on an annual trip, and will continue to do so. I've actually got some planned out for about the next two summers. As she gets older, and has her own opinions, and likes, we can plan accordingly. My goal is to take a few trips together a year. One thing that I think I will do, is to let her know that if she has any friends who don't have the means to go on vacation to invite them along. I would love to share the experiences that she and future siblings have with her friends who may not otherwise get to chance to have those experiences. 

And as for our house, we do have that two story home that I've always wanted! Although, because of limited space, most homes in the Seattle area tend to be multi level, so there's that. I'm thankful that my husband and I were able to find a nice house that met our needs, and I'm thankful that Sara has a nice place to come home to every day. But because of the growing toy population, we may have to up size eventually! But on an important note, I never want her to feel embarrassed to bring her friends home, and I want her to know that her home life will be stable, and she doesn't ever have to worry about being "thrown out onto the street."

Which gets be back to indulgement. What is too much? In my adulthood, I've overcompensated, and still do, for the lack that I had in childhood. I realized that a long time ago, and it does make me happy to go out and get something nice for myself, or to go have a spa day, but it's not the only thing that makes me happy, but it is part of the whole package. I definitely do have Champagne tastes, but all joking aside, I never want Sara to feel like less than a person over something that is out of her control. Over something that she has or doesn't have. We are surrounded by a lot of haves and also a lot of have not's where we live. We fall somewhere in the middle, and I want Sara to know that her worth isn't defined by what she has or doesn't have. But I know the way kids are from my own experiences, and I want her to feel like she fits in with her peers and isn't missing out, and isn't "less than them" in any perceived way. So we do spoil her from time to time, because it gives us joy to be able to give her those things, and it makes us happy to share the happiness that her toys, or whatever it may be brings her. I guess as she gets older, and becomes more aware of things around her, we will try not to make a big deal about what we give her. I definitely don't want her to become a brat, but I do want her to feel included. I also want her know know that when she inevitably does have feelings of inequality about something or another, that she is welcome to openly discuss it with her dad and I, and that those feelings are OK to have. This is something that I never really had, and I kept my feelings to myself mostly, and I wish I wouldn't have. 

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