Oh.... how I wish - actually, El Capitan's wishes for that, too... lololol
But sadly, even with my magnet sales (super duper thanks to everyone who bought one!), I'm not exactly scaling my pile of Scrooge McDuck gold coins in my living room... not yet anyway. lolol
Then there was the whole Scott Disick fiasco where people were stating that Mr. Disick should by my house for me because well.... clearly *he* has money. bwahahahahah
That's not gonna' happen either..... :)
So that had me thinking about money and life..... and how even though we didn't have much right now, we still had more than enough as far as I was concerned, and certainly we were much better off than we used to be.
Being a photographer is the only thing I've ever really done for a "living" since I was 19 years old.... which, frankly is a sad state of affairs because you would think that after 18 years of doing something I would be a hell of a lot better than I am now... lolol - but alas... there it is - 18 years!
I did weddings for 6 of those years.... 6 long, draining, drama-filled years that were filled with an insane amount of anxiety and worry and panic (all on my part, of course) because *if* you take doing someone's wedding as seriously as you *should* then it should cause mind-blowing amounts of stress. At least... that's how I saw it.
So the year after I had our Baby Girl, El Capitan got the "big" promotion we had waited for.... and he told me I could stop doing weddings... which - was a dream come true! Focus on the babies and totallyradcards.com and give up the sleepless nights and 14 hours days in the heat carrying a 50lb bag. I pulled my business out of the bridal show and just. plain. quit. weddings!
We hadn't really every "done a budget".... so we were not at all prepared for HOW MUCH this would affect our families bottom line.... and Christmas that following year was R.O.U.G.H.
I had been saving up gifts cards from clients and was able to get The Boy a Wii for his room, and my parents bought and mounted him a TV to the wall in his room. I bought furniture from the Goodwill and covered it in Superman stickers and spent alllll night on Christmas Eve pulling out his toddler bed and installing the Goodwill furniture and the Wii so that when he woke up on Christmas day, he had a totally brand new room. His first "big boy room" - I spent a whopping $60 out of pocket for it too!
It was AWESOME.
The Girl ... well, she's always been my "little Mama", always loving baby dolls and feeding them and dressing them.... so I would go out every single night to the Goodwill - there are seven locations not far from our house - and I would scour the shelves for any kind of "nice" baby doll or a Disney Princess doll. I would bring them home and clean their faces and wash their hair (you can find instructions for restoring doll hair online!!!! How did people survive before Google?.....) and I would spend days and days looking for doll clothes to fit them.
Some them were just wrapped up buck naked though... lol - she didn't seem to care much. She had dozens of "babies" to open... she didn't know they should have come in pretty boxes with bows in their hair.
Then I figured out that people were donating HUGE bags of Beanie Babies.... so, instead of buying stocking stuffers, I found these huge bags of Beanie Babies for like $5 and $6, I'd pull out the cleanest/best ones and donate back the rest. All in all, I bought like three bags of the Beanie Babies and their stockings were brimming over with smiley stuffed animal faces under the tree.
In the end, the massive pile of gift wrapped happiness under our tree was H.U.G.E - but cost me less than $125 for the two kids.....
Why did you have to go to so much trouble? Where does all your money go you ask.....? Medical bills.
Each year for the last five years running we totaled over $12,000 out of pocket (EVERY SINGLE YEAR!) in medical expenses. :( That year was really really bad... I had had VERY BAD dental work done. For a year I went back and back and complained and the oh-so-lovely Dentist of Suck who told me that the constant pain in my face was due to my "grinding my teeth" at night.
Wrong. It would later be discovered the May previous to this Christmasof Goodwills, that I had an infection in my skull that went into my spinal fluid (and seriously... nearly killed me) but because they couldn't figure out *why* I was so sick (because sadly, Dr. House is actually just a character on TV) - and they put me in a quarantine.
I missed Mother's Day with the kids that year because they weren't allowed to see me. :(
Anyhow.... after that ENTIRE mess (and I lost two top teeth due to the infection) - ... we just didn't have alot of extra money going around at the holidays.
I look back and instead of being sad or "ashamed" at that time, I was proud. I was proud that I was able to find all the things that would make my children smile on Christmas morning even though I didn't have credit cards or extra money to spend. It was a great Christmas..... we were happy. It's so hard to think about that now.... that we were happy then: a happy, whole family.
I was happy because even then I knew that there were people who had it *much* worse than we did - we still had our home, heating, running water... and each other...... those basics we often take for granted.
Right when we were married I was working for a wonderful Single Mom and she had done very well for herself in the business world but she had shared with me that when she had first become a single mom she was so broke that the only food she got was the food that was left on her sons plate after she had put him to bed. She would lie and tell him that she "ate at work", so he wouldn't feel bad or ashamed. Then after she put him to bed, she'd get his plate back out of the fridge and finish what was left... and sometimes it was nothing.
I was so inspired by her and by her true sacrifice as a Mom. Pure Amazing.
Looking back now... I'm glad I was happy even then. I didn't waste the precious years I had as a whole family and as a wife being angry or frustrated with our situation...we *never* fought about money: ever. We just made do and made the best of what we had.. and I'm so so so glad we did now because instead of fighting over the holidays about what we didn't have or what we couldn't give the kids - in the end - we gave them the gift of a whole family opening presents at Christmas... which is something I can't buy them this year. At all.
So sure.... it would be nice for someone to buying a million magnets (oh... and I can think of like at least THREE local families who find themselves housed immediately if I had money like that! lol).... but, we all know that isn't going to happen... and honestly, what I have *now* is still more than most! That's always a hard thing to remember... but it's true.... I figure so long as I can afford food for all three of us, we're better off than some and I'm very grateful just for that.
And seriously..... hit up your local Goodwill - not only do they employ some pretty cool people, but you might be SHOCKED to find some really awesome toys there! (I once bought an American Girl doll for $2.99 who cleaned up GREAT!) and... the bonus? You're helping people every time you shop there!