Giving Up by Peggy Bogaard-Lapp
Seems that lately I have been giving up a lot. Giving up junk food. Giving up beer on Tuesday. But what I’ve really been giving up is much more important.
I’ve given up my car. Our thirteen year old truck has an engine knock, and we are nowhere ready to pay for the repairs. So I gave up my car so that my husband can drive it the 23+ miles to work each day. I get to climb up into the large and loud Green Machine and drive my 1 mile to work. I had no idea how much I would regret it. I can’t wait to lift a carseat with an infant up into the back seat through the extended cab door, but only on the passenger side because the driver side door sticks, and up about two feet higher than my waist. Did I mention it’s a diesel, and stick-shift? No power locks, windows, or seat warmer? Agh.
I’ve given up my downtime. I rarely get more than 10 uninterrupted minutes, and never on a daily basis. But that’s no surprise to you, I’m sure. And I feel a little guilty putting it on the list. But really, when I sit at the computer, typing and in “the zone” why must they begin a conversation, or suddenly need me to find something, get something, listen to something. Agh.
I have given up a larger paycheck. Since the birth of my second grandson, I have been counting the days until I can spend my afternoons with him. But that also means that I will work fewer hours, and have lost my very generous employer benefits. At 15 hours a week, I will just clear enough to pay for…. my husband’s motorcycle. Yes, I will have the full benefit of holding that precious baby, and making sure he’s safe and fed and cared for. But still.. I had planned to add hours to my work schedule since our youngest daughter will be going to middle school in the fall. Instead I’ve stripped it down to just enough to stay on the payroll. And I’m not sure I will have any hours this fall when school resumes. Agh.
My space is another thing that I’ve given up. I have a basement office, and the handmade desk that was my father’s sits in the middle, taking up much of the room. It still has the faint scent of his pipe tobacco, since he often sat at his desk smoking his pipe and doing his paperwork. It’s not built to hold a computer, and I have added a keyboard tray that is nowhere near a match to the design of the desk. But it is a nice place to sit and ponder about writing. I had hoped to make it into a useful place, to write, but since before Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving 2005…) it has been a dumping station for unwanted toys, craft supplies, wrapping paper and boxes from Christmas, and at least three unusable desktop computers. I have no idea why they are unusable, or even what to do with them. I also have 4 (or more) years worth of old magazines, which might someday become useful in my (eventual) writing career. I feel like a hoarder, because much of it is worth keeping, but needs a home. I feel a yard sale coming soon. Agh.
As a wife and mother, and grandmother, I realize that giving things up are part of the deal. And often I am glad to give things up, because I know that the people I love are getting something they need or want. Giving up is not always without reward. It’s just that the reward has been, well, non-existent lately. It’s hard to not feel like the life is being sucked out of you. I know that I will see the reward eventually, or maybe it will be in a subtle way that I don’t realize until much later. But for now…. agh.