Don't let the tennis court or Lex fool ya. Sure, I grew up in a beautiful house with our own tennis court, my mom drove whatever car she wanted, and I didn't want for much. But in all reality, my family is blue collar to the core. My Dad is a newspaper distributor- which means on any given day, one of us was chucking papers for a down route, going door to door trying to get people to take the daily paper free, or collecting bad pay. Big Daddy Mike works harder than anyone I know, and he always instilled in us a strong worth ethic. He always taught us that you have to work to get what you want- it's not given to you. While I was lucky to have my college paid for, there wasn't a summer that I lounged around. I remember one summer I was a camp counselor by day, a waitress at night, and the golf course extraordinaire on the weekends- doing anything from flipping burgers in the snack bar to running the range and washing carts. So, with Christmas soon approaching and many "wants" on my lists (like this new running group w/ Melinda), how did I spend the past two nights? Yep, you've got it... by waking up in the middle of the night to deliver papers. Thanks Dad.:)
This wasn't just any paper route. It was actually inside at a local retirement center. My mom and I sorted our papers, loaded up our cart, and served the hot off the press papers to nearly 300 customers... all the while trying to dodge taking the free candy that many had outside of their door. And at the end of the day, as usual, something hit home.
Day in and day out, I complain that I don't have "time" for myself. It's always my son needs to go here, or my daughter needs to be there... and I let myself get lost in the shuffle. I have to "make" time to workout, prepare healthy food, and even just to have a second to think. While this was one of the nicest retirement homes I've ever seen, I'm in no rush to be in it. It advertises "worry-free" living, and I guess it somewhat is. These residents have every day to do as they please. They can take the low-impact aerobics class, lounge at the piano bar, paint in the arts and craft room, play $1,000 super bingo, or even confess their sins on Thursdays in the dining hall to Father Wynan. (I found this quite hilarious and even pictured myself downing a hot buttered roll as I repented over my food diary.) The residents have meals prepared for them and eat on fine china accompanied with fresh linens. And the men must be in heaven because for every man there must be five widowed ladies. On one hall, good ole' Glenn could have his pick...
The whole experience made me realize that I'm thankful for the chaos in my life. I'm thankful that I look forward to a lunch out with my mom where I'm actually served and waited on. I'm thankful for the craziness of my life. I'm thankful for my loud house full of screaming kids and snotty noses. I'm thankful. As the song goes... "These are the days to hold onto... because they will not last forever." The halls were way too quiet for me, and I know that my day will come to have "me" time.
And with the week of Thanksgiving approaching, I'm thankful my hubby has a job and I'm able to have a life where my biggest complaint is not being able to make it to the gym because it doesn't have day care or that I'm carrying around a few extra pounds. Eventhough he won't be with us during our feast because work duty calls, I'm thankful. Because like many, if something were to happen to his job, we'd be a stone's throw from losing everything. Life would change in an instant, and I would be right back to being the worker bee- waiting tables and delivering newspapers. And quite frankly, my bed is calling my name.