Monday, February 12, 2007

I Can See the Moon

My dear friend Tricia--yoga instructor, courageous follower of dreams and intuitions, and philosopher-warrior extraordinaire--sent me a wonderful birthday card the other day. It was printed with the Japanese samurai Mizuta Masahide's poem:

"Barn's burnt down--
I can see the moon."

How fabulous, right? I love it. I posted it on the fridge door because it reminds me to count blessings, consider alternate ways of defining obstacles, live life with a spirit of acceptance rather than fear. Very timely considering the issues with which I've been grappling this winter: the money worries, the background doubts about whether or not I should go back to work.

This past week I heard about two different job leads, and even talked to a friend's husband in depth about one of them. And yet, I know in my heart that I don't want to work outside the home right now, with two small children under three. I see that kind of life, for me anyway, as stressful, rushed, and frustrating, and I know I would not be good at it; I imagine a constant feeling of never doing a good enough job at either parenting or working, and who needs that? And yet the financial concerns are real. We've very consciously made some recent small improvements in our financial situation (we gave up our cell phone, which feels kind of strange in this day and age, and I don't like not having it when we're driving long distances, but it does save us $45 a month; and, Christopher started a second job, teaching an online course part-time in the evenings to make some extra money), but at the same time Sallie Mae rejected our request to lower my student loan payment and, in a fit of simply incomprehensible apparent dementia, I accidentally used the wrong debit card THREE TIMES in the past two weeks, bouncing checks AGAIN. (Do you know how high bounced-check fees are? This is no excuse, but such behavior is so totally uncharacteristic of me that I can only blame it on extreme, continued sleep deprivation: this most recent spate of idiocy occurred just when Genevieve was keeping me up all night every night and I was barely getting through each day.)

So, this poem and its message arrived in my mail at just the right time. Because when I read it, I think of my decision to stay home with my wee ones as a mindful choice to view our current economic situation not in terms of deficit, instability, or foolhardiness but rather as a temporary investment in the future of our girls and our family's life. To consider the struggle to make ends meet in an affluent community on just one income not as a frightening obstacle to overcome, but rather as my choice to experience as much of my daughters' early childhoods as I possibly can--as many irreplaceable moments as possible, as much living as we can squeeze into these months and years.

Not that it's so easy to banish money anxieties and act all positive about everything when your bounced checks just cost you your birthday money (damnit!). But I'm trying. Where's that moon?


Christopher said...


Jim said...

If you keep bouncing those checks you will not have to worry about a job or taking care of the kids. You will be making projects to sell in the gift shop!

Shan said...

Believe me, it says an awful lot about how fried my brain has been for the past 6 months that such a thing would happen even ONE time, let alone more than once.