Friday, August 20, 2010

Little pink bags. Anonymous.

You see I have come to yet another of my social theories of life (I could write a book on men who are fiscal risk takers vs men who physical risk brother who was once known in the ER by name...they offered him a "frequent user card" the biggest putz when it comes to money.  In contrast I know some husbands out there that are about be signed up for Ultimate Fighting by their wives in hopes that by beating the adrenalin out of them it will make fiscal conservatives!)

This past year I have suffered yet another enlightenment:

Apparently I used up all my good fortune on people.  I will never win the lottery.  I have requested all my friends to kindly forfeit their friendship to me so that I may suffer financial fortune!  Sadly, no one has as yet complied.

As many of us, too many of us lately, know the hardest place to pull back is the kids.

Around here, as my brother-the frequent ER user/money putz- puts it, was ground zero for the economic collapse.  As my husband put it:  how does it feel knowing your state help spearhead a world economic collapse.  In the neighborhood, we high five on pay day...because there was a pay day.  Ah, you may say that is because you guys were all construction...but not true.  There's a pilot, my husband the ex-mortgage guy (yep that was our death knell), carpenter, print shop salesman, engineers, community college staff amongst us...the usual mix of odd balls in any neighborhood.  At the meet the teacher night, I noticed a funny change in our language here.  I heard it over and over:  "Hey how are you?  Good. Good.  You still working?  Wow the baby grew!  Does your husband still have a job?  Great.  Great.  Hey how are you guys faring?  Oh, that sucks.  Do you need anything?  Ya, I'll keep an ear out."  You can mix and match the conversation, but the jist is the same.  "Mike came home from work early.  I don't know whether to be happy or cry.  He said be happy today...if it happens again tomorrow, then cry."

But the simple fact is I am hoping in the end we will all be a better nation for it.  I am amazed at the true colors I have seen.  You see the truth of a man when he is beaten down.  Everyone can have grace in their glory (though some even fail at that!)  What gets me up each day to fight again are the little things I see.

Today it was a little pink bag hanging on my door when I came home from delivering a five year old to kindergarten.  The simple fact is, when you live on commission sales, you don't have a "pay day" per say.  If a bank decides to take their own sweet time for pay wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Sooo everything else waits.  The car gets gas, the fridge gets food.  Maybe.  The kids learn to wait too.  We have not had the room in the budget for back to school shopping yet.  (Yep, AZ is off a bit.  We start beginning of August.  I have often thought that sunbelt states should go completely opposite...hole up in summer and have the big vacation in winter...)

In that little pink bag was just an unsigned note...and a gift card to take the kids shopping.  My eight year old has been a trooper, making due and making last.  She even gets into designing pieces to sew when she needs something new.  The five year old is as excited for the hand-me-down boxes as if she were headed to Bloomies.  But to go pick, fitting rooms and all, is a treat that has been too long.

It doesn't matter what the number on the card is, the simple gift is the joy.  $10 on some days is as great as a $1000 on others.

I thought I had the anonymous giver pegged instantly.  Style of the gift, intimate knowledge of where the girls had asked to shop.  But the more I thought about it the greater the blessing became.  See the fact is I have enough people in my life who are always ready to help out, that I can't say 100% that it was definitely this person over another.  And they also surround themselves with people who would help friends of friends or strangers too.

So there it is.  A world in a little pink bag.  It is my neighbor dropping by a loaf of bread.  The local church organizing a giant "back to school clothing swap".  My husband running out to harass the older lady across the street as she takes out her garbage because he hasn't seen her in a while and wants to check that things are okay.

I also have another theory on life.  Some of us are good at writing cards, thank yous and just plain hellos.  Some of us make soup. Some of us bake bread.  Some of us accost little old ladies with garbage cans.

When I was a kid, our German Shepherd died.  The Sheriff that patrolled the farms noticed that he wasn't around anymore.  He showed up one day with a puppy from his own litter.

My children may have a few less 'things', see fewer movies, and Santa may have to put more effort on the families that are really hurting this year and bring us less again, but they will know what it means to grow up in a community again...all because of a little pink bag.

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