The mother of one of Emma's friends told me recently that her daughter had another girl over from school who, after playing at their home for a while, asked, "Where's the rest of your house?" This woman who told me the story has a very nice home that this little girl apparently found, uh, lacking.
Last weekend, Ron and I took Emma to get her ears pierced. This was completely her idea; I did no nudging whatsoever. She could hardly sleep for days because she was so excited. Not exaggerating here. The earrings were in, paid for, a bottle of antiseptic something or other in a pink bag, and Emma wanted to know how long before she could put in new earrings, and then how long before she could wear dangling earrings . . . and then how long before she could wear my dangling earrings.
Ron bought a new camera for himself for Christmas. It has a full-frame sensor (yeah, I have no idea what that means, and please don't bother explaining it to me) and is better than his "old" one. But with this fancy schmancy new camera came the need for new lenses. Two new lenses. So since Christmas, he's sold four old ones. He says he's content now, done shopping, ready to take photos and stop cruising through Craigslist looking for the rest of the house.
I'm sure all of this is as simple as the Rolling Stones song, right?(That's without the girly-action refrain, of course.) Satisfaction with what we have and where we are is just. so. hard. The grass is always greener. Those two birds in the bush look pretty dang tempting, but the one in my hand should suffice. Oh, and that dog has a bigger bone than I do, but if I go for it--crap--I lost the one I had.
Here's the thing though. Wanting more doesn't have to leave us unhappy with what we have. I've been paying a lot of attention to this little quirk in Emma lately. She's the happiest of my kids. I mean, she's just the definition of joyful. She wakes up happy, goes to bed happy, and skips, runs, and bounces in virtually every moment in between. But I say "virtually," because she does have her little fits, her share of why can't-I and but-mommy's and stomp-stomp-stomp-this-is-me-stomping-away-so-there. She gets over "it" though--whatever "it" may be at the time. And, sure, she wants to wear dangling earrings as soon as possible, and she wants to wear the shoes TODAY that are two sizes too big for her, and she always wants it to be tomorrow because tomorrow always holds something exciting.
But--and this is a big "but" that makes the difference between a child's joy and an adult's anxiety--she's also thrilled to pieces to be right here, right now.
I like writing. I love it, in fact. And I would love to have an agent call me tomorrow (because tomorrow always holds something exciting, right?) and say, "So, hey, I'm thinking we could work together." But--and this is a big "but" that makes the difference between me finding joy in what I do and me biting my nails until they bleed--I'm very happy to be right here, right now . . . writing, editing, wifing (don't bother correcting me), and mothering. Life is good.
Knock on wood--Brazilian cherry, please. And then you can show me the rest of your house.