My in-laws just returned from a trip to visit my niece and nephew’s school for Grandparents’ Day.
“Oh, you should see their school,” my mother-in-law gushed, “it’s so nice. They have a computer lab about four times the size of this room here, and they all go in and have a class in there.”
And that was enough to release the pang longing and of failure within me, the frustration that I am usually able to keep in check by focusing on all that I appreciate about my life.
“They all have Ipads in that classroom too,” she continued. “They get them out of a rack and do things on them in class. I guess that’s why the tuition is so high…”
And I listen and smile, hoping that I do not betray the disappointment has formed in my heart as I am reminded of what some parents are able to do for their children that I am not able to do for my own.
And of course I never begrudge them that, the same as I never begrudge my Facebook acquaintances their trips and grown up houses and new cars. And normally I can roll with it without any effort at all, happy that all is going well in my friends’ lives. I never can predict what will catch in my throat, or why…this friend’s new bedroom set…a cousin’s trip to New York…a high school buddy’s new boat. Or my niece and nephew’s pricey, shiny, private school, with computer labs and multiple gyms for different age groups.
And I think, what is it that all of these people have figured out that I haven’t yet figured out? Why am I struggling? At 42!
And it is when such things stick in my throat that I must put forth great effort to filter out the noise and focus. They are things, they don’t matter, we are fine.
And I try to remember that we have a house and other people don’t have houses. And we have educations and jobs and insurance. We have healthy children. Our cars are not new or especially nice but at least they drive, and maybe if we can hold out a few more years, just a few, we can buy newer ones. Not new, but at least newer.
Then I again will the self-pity to go away…and in short course, it is gone. And gone it stays for the next month, or two, or six.
They are things.
They don’t matter.
We are fine.