I haven’t been to a mall in what feels like forever. But this weekend I happened to be at one all by myself. And let me tell you, when I’m out and about all by myself it’s as if I suddenly attract people who want to talk. And I end up having the sweetest little conversations with people I absolutely don’t know. So I listen. It’s most likely because I’m not watching three kids all at once and trying to do an errand, so I have time. I’m not rushed. I can stop. (It also feels like I’m on a holiday!) This time around, one of these people was an elderly lady who started talking to me and she reminded me of my sweet devoted lady clients who would come see me when I worked as a stylist. It’s interesting how people would come, month after month, year after year. Some for the whole six years that I worked at my first salon in Spokane. Sometimes I wonder about those people, their stories or just their being having become part of me in some ways…
I love watching people this time of year. Especially at grocery stores. Seeing who is buying what. Some buying pre made, some buying half made, some buying ingredients to make from scratch. Couples, women, men. Young and old. Readying for meals, dinners, events… And every time I’m at a grocery store, I marvel at all the food, the cans, the jars, bags, containers, sitting upon aisles and aisles. How amazing. Everything at our fingertips to pick and choose.
I’ve shared this with people before. How I’m always amazed. I open the faucet and water runs. Just pours and pours. Every time. How I can fill the bath tub. Fill it with so much water. How the shower just runs with hot water. I had a moment last year, I step down on the carpet in my bedroom and it just hits me, I’m walking on soft, comfortable floors. I’ve told my husband, I get into bed and almost feel guilty, for having this bed. Why should I feel guilty? But I can’t seem to get over it. How it’s almost too good to be true. And you’d think, well maybe you feel this way because you lacked before and now you have. But that is not the case.
So back to when I worked at the salon. Occasionally, I’d hear how having children is so expensive. Perhaps a reason for not having more children or some other topic that it was related to. And I would always think how I have a different point of view. Not speaking it, just thinking about it. Not to contradict that having children is expensive, no. Think even here and now in America and it’s still expensive. Weather we make choices for the least expense, or the most extravagant, it all adds up and costs. But where I’m going with this is what it always made me think of and what this post is about. My parents.
I’m thankful for my parents. For being hard working and sacrificial. For coming to America with six kids and starting a life here. My dad going through college with a dictionary at his side. If you think school is challenging, think school in a different language and a large family to take care of all at the same time. That is challenging. Nobody said you must. It was a choice. Perhaps at the sacrifice of other desires for that time. My parents alternating work schedules, classes, renovating and fixing an old, old house. We had plenty of space. We had plenty of food. Think Costco carts full of food. Showers ran and ran. Think eight, then nine people at one point all together. And the water was always running, and the house always, warm. Everybody had a bed. Almost all of us took private piano lessons because morning newspapers, evening newspapers. I always think how grateful I am that my brothers and sister would get up so early to do that! I hated it the few times I ever did. And yet there was my dad and siblings, driving around, running out the papers. Handyman jobs, various jobs. My mom being economical. Sacrificial and thrifty. She knew how to spend money wisely. She cooked and cleaned, took classes, worked and worked. We had everything because my parents worked hard. That is just a general statement. We don’t see the details. Even I don’t know what was on my parent’s hearts. When they came to America, when they made choices, when they worried. We don’t ‘feel’ the headaches, the tired aching bodies, the mental strain, the heartaches. We can’t see the given up desires or wants. Where exactly what was sacrificed. Even I don’t know all that it encompasses. All that went into it. But I am grateful and thankful even with as little as I can see.
So even though we weren’t rich by the standards of what ‘rich’ means, we were rich. Never lacking. And as an immigrant family.
There’s a movie I really appreciate. My sister had told me about it initially. It’s called The Good Lie with Reese Witherspoon as the actress, about refugees who come to America. There is a scene that has stayed with me- when the young refugee men who get a job at a grocery store can’t make themselves throw away expired food. It doesn’t make sense for them! Overall, I almost feel like it’s the perfect Thanksgiving movie. To remind us of how blessed we are to be living in America. We might drive different models of cars, and have different amounts of square footage. And if we compare ourselves to one or another, we will always come up with having less or more depending on who it is we chose to compare to. But no matter where we stand, we have so much. We are so rich!