Saturday, August 8, 2009

Envy vs Astonisment

I'm back! I was on vacation, visiting my Mother in the Chicago suburbs for a week, then staying with my mother in law for a few days in South Bend, Indiana. We (the spawn and I) drove, so South Bend was on the way home, and my husband went there after the conference HE was at to visit as well.

I come from a BIG family. Not my nuclear family, where I was an only child, but my mother was one of 8 kids, my father was one of 6, both of Mom's parents were one of 6 .... and most of the extended family lived in Chicago. So when I visit I visit with lots of relatives, mostly the daughters of my mother's sisters but some of the others as well.

I don't seem to live like the rest of the family. Even aside from religion, since my side of the family is all Jewish and I'm pagan. But I clean my own house, make my own food, deal with my own yard (well, the spawn is mowing as I type but I get credit for nagging him and not hiring a lawn service), etc.

Now, I indulged while in Chicago - it was a vacation my mother was paying for, sort of. (Paying for in that she didn't want to cook, didn't want ME to cook, so we ate out a lot. And, bless her, she paid for the Museum of Science and Industry for me, the spawn, and a cousin's granddaughter that I took along. THAT was pricy - $16 to park, $78 for tickets to get in and see the Harry Potter exhibit for 3 'adults'.) We swam in the pool in her condo complex, we visited folks, I made my mother actually do the walking she claims she does daily, etc.

But I'm not ashamed to share a restaurant meal with my son or my mother, and they aren't comfortable with doing things like that in public. I don't join clubs to play bridge or mah jong or such to fill my time - I don't have free time to fill! I certainly don't buy clothes and then get tired of them so give them away (to my mother or to charities) soon after. I notice when my cars need maintainance or make funny noises and deal with the problems, tho' 'dealing with' usually means having someone else fix the problem I've identified. I rarely eat out. I don't get my nails done. I don't drink half a jug of wine a day. I can't imagine getting worked up because I wanted to go to another city for my 3 year old grandchild's birthday party .... honestly, I'd probably try to avoid a 3 year old's birthday party, not spend $700 traveling.

But am I feeling envy or astonishment over our lifestyle differences? Don't get me wrong, I'd LOVE to have more money and have the option of living without financial worries. But I don't THINK that I'd make the same choices that they make. I just don't LIKE to shop for clothes, for instance. I don't LIKE to spend hours a week playing cards/D&D/mah jong/WoW/whatever. They don't recycle. I'm pretty dang green. We're just SO bloody different!

We were all raised by the same generation of women, tho' I'm about 15 years younger than they are, and during my life time lived close to each other or even with each other.

It was just a 'WTF' visit, I guess.

Frondly, Fern

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