The Egg Hatched And So Did My Guilt
This month my husband and I bought our first home. We were ahead of our peers with childbearing and rearing, but have felt behind the curve in homeownership. At nearly 32, it was finally time. My in-laws owned our first condo. When we moved, we rented a house. But we're grown up now, and ready to plant our roots.
Every piece of furniture we owned had been given to us from family or friend. Our cup runneth over - but our style? Well - it was kind of just, thrown together.
When we decided to buy our house, we agreed that we wanted to curate the home we've been dreaming of. No more modpodge, riff-raff, thrown-together looks. We wanted to create a streamlined and adult nest. If it meant a room was empty - so be it! We agreed we'd rather go without, than cram this new home with anything we didn't truly love. We'd take our time, and carefully create our own little palace.
And so began the creative process. The Pinterest boards. The online shopping, lusting, and dreaming. My husband thought it was fun. I thought it was stressful. I found that somehow, the 21 year old girl who thought EVERYTHING needed to be designer, had grown into a penny pinching adult. It's amazing what time and perspective can do to a gal.
Johnny and I have been saving. And saving. And saving. Not that we haven't spent a little money here and there - but we always managed to save. So our nest egg grew and grew, and with this house - the egg finally hatched.
And with the hatching of our beautiful home, and the beautiful and carefully selected items we placed in it ... came tremendous guilt. Well, for me anyway.
I have found myself almost to the point of tears because I feel - lucky. Maybe even too lucky? If that's a thing? I can't help but look around and feel overwhelmed by the beauty. My home is beautiful. It is filled with beautiful things. I have food in my pantry. Food in my refrigerator. My refrigerator is stunning. My stove is - well, I feel like even Anthony Bourdain would find it worthy. There are so many details in this home that I am in awe of. And while sure, it's no mansion <I mean, we are middle class suburbanites at best> I can't help but feel completely overwhelmed by my good fortune.
I spent the last month or so fundraising for a homeless man in need of a medical intervention. I wish I could say that I did more to help him - but with caring for two kids, and packing and prepping for a move - fundraising was really all I could offer this man, despite wanting to do more. Every time my husband and I shopped online for something for the house and clicked "buy" - I would think of him. My homeless friend. I'd think of the surgery he was needing. Or the medications he couldn't afford. I'd be online paying bills and see my big fat down payment chilling out in my checking account and feel this massive desire to withdraw it all and just give it away. Pay for his surgery. Or just hand it to a family in need at St. Jude's.
I told Johnny and my parents of this feeling. This guilty feeling of having more than I needed - especially knowing that there are so many who don't have their needs covered. All parties involved reminded me that my kids deserved these nice things. My kids deserved a warm and comfortable home to grow up in. After all, I grew up in a home like this. I had an enchanting childhood, and of course I want that for my kids. Furnishing my home to be beautiful will only benefit them - and the friends they make - along with the memories they create in this warm space we're calling home. And on top of that - well, we've worked for this all. And hard. We could have taken easier paths, but we worked hard, persevered, and saved when we wanted to spend. And it paid off. Literally. (Oh the puns!)
But even with this sound reasoning, I continued to feel guilt. I have felt both pride and guilt in this home. It's so surreal.
I read something on Facebook - a quote. I'm having the hardest time finding it now. But it said something along the lines of "if you find yourself at the dinner table with more than you need - get a bigger table." I'm doing a terrible job at quoting it - so please, if you've seen this quote, share it with me. Because it helped. It made me realize that it is okay that I am fortunate - because I can, and will, and promise to share. I will always pay it forward. That's just in my DNA.
And for when I'm feeling like it could be worse - I reflect on this quote from dear ol' Gwyneth Paltrow: "I'd rather smoke crack than eat cheese out of a tin." Things could be worse. I could be GOOPY and so very out of touch!
* And a special note - my homeless friend, Arnold Coe, had a successful surgery at Vanderbilt Hospital, and is now being cared for in the home of a kind souled good-Samaritan where he plans on rehabilitating his health - both physical and mental ... and is looking for work. My heart is very full and happy to know that he is being so well cared for.