Okay, I don’t go in for a lot of syrupy posts.
It’s not that I am against counting your blessings. I think it’s more that, as a disabled person, I get awfully tired of people telling me to look on the bright side all the time. I’m not talking about wallowing in self-pity, but for goodness sake being disabled sucks.
And it should be okay to think that/express that from time to time without being told your negativity is holding you back. Sheesh.
That said, it hit me the other day just how blessed I am. Really and truly.
My mom is a big part of that. I quite literally would not have made it to this point without her help and support. Throughout this last decade, she has helped financially in various ways.
For two years, she supported me almost entirely. I was getting $300 from the state, plus food stamps. Everything else, she found a way to pay for. Even after Tim moved in, she continued to help. She would buy us treats she found on sale (and used coupons on). She kept us in AMC movie passes thanks to My Coke Rewards.
Most importantly, when I became suicidal — shortly after I stopped working and was living with her — she spent most of her savings on therapy. She was, herself, in no condition to work, and so she was spending her security to get me better.
And when we moved to Arizona, she gave us her car so that we would not have to go into debt for one when we got down here. (Plus, she helped us clean the apartment for move-out.)
I’m probably omitting a million other ways she helped, but you get the idea.
It’s not just my mom, though. Other relatives have helped out. Two different ones gifted us money when Tim and I were trying to figure out how to make ends meet. And recently a relative lent us $2,500 to help bolster our car down payment.
Their support (emotionally, as well as financially) has meant the world to me. These are people who do not like big government and have a lot to say about the welfare system. They have tremendous, nose-to-the-grindstone work ethics. But when I had to apply for disability, when I was on state aid, they never wavered in their support. Obviously, I had tried every other solution I could think of, but I was never really sure if they would understand that. But they put aside their own opinions when it came to me. That is huge.
Then, of course, there is my husband. In May, we’ll be celebrating three years of marriage and five of being together. He’s put up with a lot in that time. Yes, I was able to get us out of debt, but it required a lot of sacrifice on his part. And it didn’t come easily.
There were a lot of fights about money and spending. There were a lot of times he had to suppress what felt like overwhelming compulsions to spend on whatever he saw — or even on things I decided we didn’t need as much as getting out of debt more quickly.
Even putting financial issues aside, Tim has weathered a lot of storms with my depression. From supporting me during the periods that I couldn’t cope to putting up with my erratic mood swings and overreactions, he has suffered through my depression right along with me. A lot of men would have walked away, and there are times I really expected him to. But he’s never even considered it an option.
Finally, there is my work. Being able to earn a paycheck again has really been amazing. It’s helped, not just financially but emotionally. It’s taken away some of the worst financial stress, allowing us to pay off our debt. But it’s also just been huge to my sense of self-worth.
It also helps that I have an amazing and understanding boss. He is happy to work around my health issues, and gives me the flexibility I need.
He’s also generous. It’s not just that he gave me a raise this year, or the extravagant end-of-the-year gifts he gave. He sent me to BlogHer, paying for the conference, the hotel and the airfare. And when I had to miss days due to a bad allergic reaction, he had me bill for those missed days anyway.
So, yes, my life is not easy. And I have certainly had a lot more obstacles thrown my way than the average person. But every so often it strikes me just how many amazing people I have in my life, and just how lucky I am.