Growing up, my house was full. It was my brother and I, but on the weekends my stepbrothers would come too. Yes there were the struggles of the blended family. My brother and my older stepbrother were only 1 month apart in age, so sparks flew there a bit. My younger stepbrother and I were about 1 yr apart and we would have our fair share of throw downs, as well... BUT, for the most part, we were a family and we played, and laughed, and had fun. At least, that's how I remember it.
I also remember that every year we went on our camping trip. It was 4th of july weekend and we would pack our stuff and head up to Sharon, VT. The boys were all there for each other, but I got to bring a friend. I think that whole trip would cost us about $150 for gas and food. It wasn't the type of camping trip that you camped at night and visited the stores and parks in the area during the day. We played in the White River, swimming, rafting, catching Crawfish, trying to fish. We would cook the crawfish and eat them with dinner. Usually hot dogs cooked on a stick, but sometimes even the occasional trout. These are the times that I remember so well.
I think that I always "knew" that we were never going to go to Disney, although, like most kids, I probably asked. It didn't really matter though, as long as we went camping. We all had bikes and for christmas each year, we all each got that 1 BIG thing. One year it was a TV. One year a stereo. My friends would laugh and tell me that my parents were secretly preparing to kick us out... one year we actually got dishes and pans. hehe. Hey, we asked for them!
So, I don't know what happened, but I started getting to the point, where if I could have it, I got it. I wanted a simple desk for our computer. Ok... actually, I went to the store to look at desks so maybe I could make one, but what happened?? I bought this big armoire that hides everything when not in use, blah blah blah...
Got the Wii, got the Playstation, got the cameras, got the mp3 player... got it all.
I started volunteering at the kids school this year. I went every Thursday and Friday for 6 weeks to sort nonperishables for families in need. Each week I hoped that more stuff would come in. I thought... "How are these kids going to eat breakfast if people don't bring in cereal??" or "What are these families going to do with 15 cans of chicken soup?". Then each of the kids classes picked a charity to help. Payton's class shopped for a family. We were going to be giving them the only gifts they were going to get this year. Phoebe's class collected new baby clothes for new or due mommies.
I started coming home and seeing all this "stuff" around. Is it strange that all of a sudden I don't care? I actually sold the Wii because we haven't used it in quite some time. Chef Hubby is selling his paintball gun and PS2. I've started cleaning out the basement more aggressively, thinking, "If we had a fire, would I even know that I lost this item?". I don't know what happened that made me change my views, but I wish that it would rub off on some people. I hope that I can instill this in my children.
I've already told them that this weekend is time for the annual, clean out the toy bins. It's when they go through their games and toys and decide which ones that no longer use or want. They are given to the charities in the area "for boys and girls who have no toys". They are actually very good at this activity.
I'm trying to bring back that feeling of "enough". I wish you and your families "enough" this holiday! Merry Christmas!!