A couple years back, I met an elderly woman waiting for the bus at a hospital. She was a sweet, widowed Irish lady, and we spoke a bit about her life, and her adult daughter, who was pretty significantly mentally disabled, and who was now hospitalized. It turned out that the woman actually had eleven children (eleven!), and it sounded like she and her husband had had a long, hard life – lots of mouths to feed, next to no money, always working hard, and a severely handicapped child to boot. I couldn’t possibly imagine how tiring it must have all been, how stressed out she must have felt all the time.
And then she said, “you know, my husband and I used to get in bed at night, turn to each other and say, if only everyone were as lucky as us.”
I remember at the time thinking how sweet that was, and how nice it was to think that she still found a way to enjoy her life despite all of the many challenges. I figured that if I were broke and stressed and had all those kids, I probably wouldn’t be able to put such a positive spin on it. I didn’t get it.
Now, I have two kids (at once!). We’re broke, we’re tired, we’re stressed. There are probably a million things my pre-baby self wanted that I will never get to do. There are so many ways our lives could be better. And yet, today, on Father’s Day, I turned to Matt and said, “I really think we might be the luckiest people alive.”
I get it now.