We had enough money to both stay home and spend all day with the kids? Instead of working we would go on hikes, go to museums, fly kites or just lounge around in PJs and eat on the floor of the living room.
We had two fully functional cars and didn’t have to rely on borrowing a car, renting a car, or being stuck at home for days on end? What if we had a car big enough to carry us, the triple stroller, the babies AND the groceries? All at once!?!?
What if we could just pay off the mortgage and then have all that extra money to save? With twenty years of investing we could maybe have enough for three college tuitions! And maybe even save to help defray the cost of weddings, or a house down payments for the girls, should they choose one or both.
What if I didn’t have all these student loans? What if I could go back to school just to take courses I all the things I didn’t get a chance to? Maybe train to be an X-ray tech, or go to nursing school. Not that I don’t love teaching but I would love to learn something new.
What if all three kids would nap AT THE SAME TIME! Just think of all the chores I could get done in one sitting rather than over the span of hours or days. Or the wonderful nap I could take!?!?
What if my mom were still around?
We all do it. Whether we say it aloud or not, we all think about the what ifs. What if things were different? Oh how glorious life would be!
Or would it?
It’s funny (is that even the right word?) how often I find myself contemplating the what ifs. Sure we would all love to win Powerball and be one of the few who can sustain the same loving relationship with a spouse and to be smart enough with the money to live well. We would all love to quit our jobs and do whatever it is that makes us happy, be it raising kids, writing the next bestseller, traveling or what have you. We would love to be able to give to those that deserve it, or donate to research to help eradicate a disease, or to fund a new business we always wanted. But on the flip side, there are so many more what ifs that could have turned our lives around in ways we could never have imagined.
What if I never accepted that job where I met my husband? What if I had never asked him out? What if we were unable to have children? What if our amazing children weren’t born healthy? What if we couldn’t afford our own home, or our own car? What if one of us was sick? Unable to work? Unable to care for our children?
When I’m down or upset I regret all the things I could have done differently, like working more through college so that I wouldn’t have needed so many loans. Or should not have done, like eating that giant piece of cake yesterday. But the more I think about it the more I realize that I am being completely selfish. Sure, there’s no harm in daydreaming of what 200 million dollars would do. But the point isn’t to live my life wishing it were different, but to just be fucking grateful that I have what I do. Because although I cry at the calendar wondering where the money will come from to pay the mortgage or the medical bill, I know that I have a lot more than many.
I have a car that works.
I have a home that is safe and comfortable.
I have a job.
I have an amazing husband who, as it turns out, is an amazing father
I have three healthy, wonderful baby girls.
I have an amazing sister who is the world’s greatest auntie.
I have awesome in-laws who are always willing to help out in a pinch and never make us feel guilty for asking.
I have a wonderful extended family all around, of people that go out of their way to make sure we have what we need.
I live in a state that allowed me to collect 8 weeks of disability pay following the birth of the twins, and 6 weeks following the birth of my oldest.
I live in a country that enables me to still have insurance when my job cancels mine while on medical leave, that offers assistance with bills, food, or formula if we need it, that offers us the protection of emergency personnel, or military personnel, that ensures that my kids will get the education that they deserve.
I am healthy, and my husband is healthy.
I am blessed more than many. My needs are being met and I know love. I know the love of a parent, of friends, of siblings, of a husband, of aunts, uncles and cousins, of in-laws, and of my children.
So when I feel a glorious what if about to permeate my every waking thought I’m just going to tell myself to suck it up, buttercup. Because I have all that I need, plus a little extra. And I am grateful for that.