For those who don't know me well, I am a very difficult person, in many ways. Most of that is a result of my up-bringing, and..hey, one's up-bringing does indeed set some foundations on who they will become. I was raised in a very strict household, especially in my position as eldest, and..of course, female. Keep in mind, we are speaking of the 60's, and a very small town.
My family was middle class, and in those days, there truly was a middle class. My Dad worked long hours, and for the most part, 7 days a week. Our family outings, consisted of my Mom, packing up a picnic lunch, and (because she did not drive during my childhood) walking down to the little airport, hiking across the dirt runway, and having a picnic, while my Dad waited for the next plane hauling supplies to the bush camps, so he could load it up, make sure it was mechanically sound, and send it off. My Mom did not work while I was a child, well, in a paying job, she did, however, work like a dog in and outside the home. Gosh, I think back on what she did, catering to my Dad, catering to her kids, and seldom a moment to herself.
I didn't realize how deeply my Mother was ingrained in me, or my Dad, for that matter. But the past 5 years, I understand, they gave me some pretty concrete foundations. Growing up, I had friends who got far more than myself, and true to a child, I would always head home, requesting all those luxuries for myself. Hah! That was when the "if so and so jumped off a bridge, would you follow" would ring out. Helloooo..WTF did that mean? They certainly didn't jump off a bridge to get their little fancies, what has a bridge got to do with the time of day? Lord love us, I recall saying those exact words to my children, and I imagine it took them a few years to clue in as to how that damn bridge had any bearing on wanting stuff.
My Mom inserted the cheap gene deep inside of my being. I absolutely hate spending money!!My belief is, if one can live comfortably with simple basics, why on earth should they be jumping off the damn bridge. I did indeed go through that I want stage, and every so often, I come across a bridge, but, the idea of having to spend to jump off it, over weighs the urge. Putting in almost 30 years of raising children, buried the cheap gene even farther, because extra's were just not possible. Now, any splurging, has become incredibly uncomfortable, plus, I think about "tomorrow" all the time, and one splurge usually means, something else may pop up, and I would regret my spending. Yes, this is my mind set. And..yes, some days I hate my life, the life without those luxuries. Cripes, lots of days!! I won't buy basics, unless I can be sure I got the best price.
I recently realized my Dr. Scholl shoes were not suitable for work (clearly I work in a hospital, and they were designed by a frigging Doctor, one would assume they would be perfect), so I had to break down, and purchase something that would not cause me to tear up after 3 hours. Took me a few months to actually break down and decide to splurge. Holy Crap!! The average shoe price in the store was $129!! Who the h-ll pays money like that for shoes? Well, apparently every one else in my family..but it actually made me sick to my stomach. You know what? Those $129 shoes and the $169 shoes hurt my feet! I walked out wearing a pricey pair of $66 shoes, that felt like pillows, however, they are still beyond my comfort zone, and they bloody well better last a long time, because it hurt to pay this much to wear something on my stinking feet!
My family knows I can't break down my foundation. My honey is NOT at all like me, he doesn't get a twinge or in fact a seizure, when he needs to purchase things, and often gets fed up with my inability to spend, especially when he comes home and the fridge is bare, as I inform him, I have soup, and toast..hey basics, right? I suppose I am somewhat annoying, but it is my comfort zone, and I manage. However, I also harp when he spends, I harp when my grown children spend..mostly because I can't stop worrying about Tomorrow...it is the reason I have 3 pairs of thrift store jeans, and "stole" my youngest daughters Safeway work shirts, as my usual outfits of choice. Hey, comfort zone!!
Clearly the lot of them see my habits as an issue, because they all conspired against me for my 61st birthday. Truth be told, they all had to pay for messing with me, and throwing me off the damn bridge! I honestly have not forgiven them yet, and quite likely if a tomorrow shows up, they will not hear the end of this, but...I have got to write this, because, I have to let them all know, how much it meant to me. Maybe all of the Debbie Downer rants they had to listen to, will fade a wee bit..but..a little codicil...DO NOT DO THIS AGAIN!!
My beloved (holy crap, I am sure he doubted he was beloved when this came to fruition) planned a get together with all my kids out of town. I went insane!! We have 4 dogs in my house, 3 of ours, and my son's. He arranged for our nephew to watch the dogs..ack!!! Someone in my house, ahhhhh..we have 4 dogs..I need to clean. The moment he admitted what he had set in motion, I went ballistic. I had to ensure my house was clean, wow, how wonderful, for my 61st I got to do a total cleanse of my house..hey, another foundation block, ingrained deep inside..do not let others see your home dirty...incredibly uncomfortable (and with 4 dogs, pretty much impossible). I was beyond livid. It wasn't that I didn't want to spend my day with my kids, it was just a big hassle to get to that point of feeling comfortable. I was most angry that, after well over 30 years, he didn't understand who I am. I suppose he does, he just figured if he didn't do things this way, I would never have agreed.
The hotel costs, well..again, off the deep end when we were all standing there, and he was checking us in..I could see my kids faces..they knew this was painful for me. I understand the average person would be fine with things like this, but myself...I follow the words, cheap, reasonable, affordable, etc..this was not within those guidelines. Fancy dinner the first night..but, by that time, I could overlook me, and focus on how everyone else was enjoying themselves, so that was fine, it wasn't ME.
The next day, was when I totally realized how my family (yes Caroline, you are family) indeed understands who I am. The girls packed me off to the mall, and into a salon, where they informed me they had arranged a Brazilian waxing..you can imagine how well that went over. In fact they had decided my annual Miss Clairol dye job was not going to cut it this time, and I was handed over to Robert who turned me into a copper haired stylish old broad. While I was trapped at the salon, the girls shopped for me. To be honest, I was extremely uncomfortable..I know this was done with a whole sh*tload of love, but, was this a result of me being so cheap..that defeats the whole purpose, right? My cheap is suddenly costing others..this was not the first time I felt this way, lately, I have had friends who have bought me amazing gifts, that were things I mentioned in passing, and of course was far too cheap to purchase..and once again, it was happening. Hey they did good, the outfits were lovely, they informed me they were all on sale or clearance, which made me feel a wee bit better. I admit, when it comes to my birthday, I would be very disappointed if it was not acknowledged, but this went way beyond my 1/2 century passing, which was pretty amazing, and lord love us, I still have the humdinger 65 coming up..LOL. So, now they have me all dolled up. new hair do, new outfit, and another big fancy supper.
That was the final cherry on top! We were seated, and there were empty chairs, who else was coming? Crap, what did they plan? Oh, they claimed I would be happy when the others showed..hummm..really, they know how few people I like. I counted the extra seats, O.K. Irene and Beau..maybe it was them, but what about the others. Sadly Irene and beau were unable to come, but..the ones who did show, I did indeed love My brother's boys showed up. I wonder if these "boys" know how much their Aunty loves them, I hope they do! Kristopher was the first nephew, in my little world, and he has grown into exactly who I imagined he would. A wonderful husband, and an amazing Dad, to his two daughters, just a good person! And William, who from the moment he came into this world, has supplied all of us with so much laughter, most definitely a branch on my tree, This was the best part of the whole thing, surrounded by my "own".
I came away from all of this, realizing, no matter how hard I think my dirt road is some days, I am truly blessed, by the people in my life. I am loved, and that, I sometimes forget. This reminded me of all the wonderful friends I have somehow managed to collect, and the family I have been lucky enough to be a part of. Many live their lives constantly jumping off of bridges to acquire things, and never get what they really need. I have all I need, with those who always walk beside me, as I make my way into the 61st year along this road of life!
Thank you all so very much for an amazing memory that will bring a smile to my face..I apologize for all the crap I put most of you through all this, Chuck, Terri-Anne (Joey) Charles, Shelby (Brandon) and Caroline. Remember, it isn't the many wonderful gifts I received that made this so special (and I did get far too much), it was those who were there..next year, maybe Mickey Dee's for coffee?