What we have, and what we want.

This weekend I decorated the house – quiet solitude to recover from the horrible week in Maine with the family. Margaret yelled, and cried, and caused issues at every point of the week. Mom covered for her – Steve yelled too.

I’m glad to be home.

So Sunday I puttered while Aaron snoozed away the morning. I wiped down the counters and spread festive garland around – wrapped in shiny ribbons and completed with fake red berries. I strung lights through the little ficus tree in our living room, hoping the glass balls wouldn’t overheat the paper-thin leaves of the fake plant. I cut and stapled yards of red, green, and white paper chains – enough to reach around the living room at least once was the goal.

When Aaron woke, I dragged him to the couch and sneaked into the bedroom to continue the elf work. I placed another garland along the back of the bed, and nestled the little packages my sister sent us home with among the greens. I spent almost an hour climbing on the dressers to reach the ceiling, where I hung clear plastic hooks to hold string lights. When I had reached all the places I could reach by myself, I hollered for my sleepy other half, and had him be my height. We managed to wrap the room in small white lights in no-time, and then we moved to the living room. The paper chain reached easily around, and clung to the wall with the force of packing tape.

When we finished, we curled up on the couch and I smiled with satisfaction at the whimsical nature of our tiny home.

“Just wait,” I told Aaron. “Just wait until we have a cute little house to decorate. You’ll need a bigger ladder to reach the ceiling, and an even bigger one to reach the roof.”

He rolled his eyes, but I closed mine and leaned against him – enjoying the idea of the lifetime we have in front of us together.

I don’t want to wish away our tiny apartment, or the jobs we work too hard in and get paid too little. I know someday I will glamorize this time of struggle to my own kids, encouraging them to slow down and enjoy it. I know that, and yet I am so smitten with our concept of what’s next, that I nearly forget how fortunate we are for what’s now.

So how do we balance what we want, striving to move forward, with our gratitude for what’s at our fingertips. How do we balance gratitude for the paycheck we earn, for the job security we have, and still dream bigger about the paycheck we SHOULD earn, or the job we COULD have?

Aaron wants another puppy…

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