I just got a new van. It wasn't possible without my mother. Often times, I've wondered way too much "Why me?" I have a ridiculously dysfunctional family - fractured, broken and missing. My first husband was abusive while I was pregnant. I grew up in weird situations, the poor, ugly, nerdy girl. I had six total miscarriages. My oldest is bipolar. A property management company making off with thousands, and the tenants he left behind who caused thousands in damages, causing us to lose the home we left behind in Colorado and ruin our credit (and no lawyer will touch without thousands on retainer.. because they won't make tens of thousands...) Desperately tired and overworked. Even through last year, I was wondering... why me? How much is God going to throw at me? Is there a God? Does he listen? Does he laugh? But alas, this hath borne a positive post. From me. The ever loving cynic.
Though I've been feeling it for the last couple months even more strongly - the culmination hit me when my husband pulled into our driveway with our first new car. A beautiful sending of a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan. Carefully researched for cost and safety. We'd been barely riding in what I lovingly call "The Death Trap". A van on loan - that when the last time we saw it was decent condition, had been torn to hell by my father-in-law without telling us before he left it with us. I was literally terrified to drive with the kids but it was the only thing that held us all. We needed a house last year before a car. I know, I know.. beggars can't be choosers. But the brakes would stick and you had to floor it when you first put it into gear, it was so rusted the back end handle was dangling, the door ajar button was busted and dinged half our trips, it didn't fit the stroller, and the shocks groaned with every right turn. It was not only humiliating but sort of scary driving it.
Then I got the new van and realized something else. This van, though payments paid by us and part of the down payment was ours - my mother's help got us into it. She was only able to do it and put our family in a safe vehicle, because my Dad is in harm's way in Afghanistan. And I started to take stock of the "little things" - which some are big, I've never doubted but they do add up.
My twins, I didn't even expect to be pregnancy. I'd struggled enough to get my second son, I was on birth control and poof, pregnant. A few weeks later, poof twins. Then they almost died. By a stroke of miracle, divine intervention - or my husbands temporary psychosis... we got out of the military a year earlier by their insistence to put a contractor in his job. We could move to any state we wanted. We chose Florida. Which was the one state a doctor lived who could save the twins lives. The doctor who invented the surgery and the research on Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. And the doctor on call when I first got the ultrasound for it... was head of maternal fetal medicine who worked with him in it when he'd practiced in Tampa before he moved to Miami. She had his number on speed dial... on a Friday... at 6pm.
There was a 30% chance of one twin surviving... really the only outcome I could hope for as far gone as they were. Nicky was almost dead. A 10% chance for both. I sat in labor since the surgery - dilated to 3cm. I refused to stay in a hospital - my mind couldn't handle it and I couldn't handle being away from my other children. I went home, relaxed as best I could and held my knees together. I should have delivered at 26-27 weeks. They'd even been given steroids. I made it to 37 weeks (which is amazing for healthy twins who are considered full term at 35 weeks) and literally went into full active labor the day I was scheduled to be induced. 14 months later - my twins are napping in their own room, in our house... with a pool, and all the bedrooms we need.
But that's the "obvious" things. A car that we couldn't have gotten, a house that we shouldn't have gotten, the twins who shouldn't be here... but count up the little things.
We struggled when giving up the house in Colorado last year. Hubs went through a job switch that sent our income straddling 8 weeks. My mothers stepped in and saved us - and considering we've never really asked for help before in this way - it was humiliating to me. Since I got married, I was determined at all costs to be as independent as possible. It made me realize life isn't perfect and sometimes... you need a little help.
As crazy as I am, I met wonderful friends online in a forum I hated, loathed, but needed. Snide, clique-y women and there were several gems. I continue my friendship 4 years later. They've had so many major issues that being in my path makes me realize I'm lucky.
Through the psychotic episodes of a certain Z list celebrity and the humor it ensues, I've got a couple of really good Twitter friends out of it.
Bank errors "in your favor" - and it wasn't a monopoly game. For example, on a cruise, Royal Caribbean lost one of the receipts and though we waited a couple months after their withdraw for final expenses, that receipt never came. Free $200. They screwed up on our very first cruise, charging it oddly - then messing up the total. My bank knocked back the second charge because their bill didn't total correctly for our final statement. Royal Caribbean had screwed up, couldn't find our paperwork - boom, $800 "bank" error.
Instilling in my son the values of healthy eating - who used his own money to buy gardening supplies. $150 worth. This summer, we'll be eating our own fresh veggies because of his unselfishness. We're even composting to stay greener. His generosity towards our family will (hopefully - if they grow!) save us literally thousands feeding a family of 6.
My middle son's inherent sense of humor. I've been upset, and he can always make me laugh. He has an infectious giggle that cannot be surpassed by anyone. He's "matter-of-fact" funny. Sort of Captain Obvious. And I realized part of the reason it's so funny, is because his humor is like mine. And then I appreciated my gift for snark.
I passed a test with my new college. I'm a sophomore but trying something new.
A marriage that has seen a ridiculous amount of trials - including one trial that almost caused a divorce. Probably more so than people twice our age. And somehow, after all this - it's still intact. I have my gripes, of course. Nothing is perfect. We could all be better partners in life. But in a few months, we'll celebrate our 8th year of marriage.
So next time you might think of "Why me?", try desperately to remember those little things. They may not seem important at the time... add them up. The tally may be greater than you think.