6: Feeling Lucky

6: Feeling Lucky

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive

Feeling Lucky

Those who wish to sing, always find a song.

~Swedish Proverb

“Oh, honey, come here,” a friend of mine said, pulling me into a hug. “Last night, when I went to pick up my daughter from softball practice, I drove right by your husband’s office. His truck was still there and it was almost 8:30. You poor thing,” she added, patting my shoulder.

I nodded. “He finally rolled in a few minutes after nine.”

“I feel so bad for you,” she said. “Being home by yourself with all of those kids. It must be so hard on you.”

I nodded again. Poor me.

It was the same story the next time I ran into this woman. And the time after that too. Every time I saw her, she was quick to offer her sympathy for my terrible circumstances.

My friend’s heart was in the right place. Her own husband traveled frequently for his job, so she knew what it was like to miss her man, as well as carry most of the childcare and household responsibilities by herself.

We were in the same boat, so why shouldn’t we play the woe-is-me game together?

One reason: I hated the way it made me feel.

I’d head into my local Walmart with a shopping list and a spring in my step, but after bumping into my misery-loves-company friend, I’d leave the store with a heavy heart and resentment simmering toward my husband. (As well as an ample supply of chocolate and Cheez-It crackers — comfort food at its best.)

These little pity parties were not good for my marriage. Or the size of my backside.

So I decided to change the way I thought about my situation.

The next time I bumped into my friend and she launched into poor-baby mode, I tried to look on the bright side. I shrugged and said, “Yes, Eric got home late last night, but he was working on a new project. If this deal comes through, his company may be able to hire someone else and then Eric’s job will be easier.” I shrugged and added, “So a year from now, he might be able to be home a lot more.”

She nodded. “That’s nice, but what about right now?”

“Right now, I’ll admit that things are tough, but they’re not nearly as bad as they could be,” I said. “Our husbands both have jobs, and in this economy, that’s a blessing.”

“But they’re both gone all the time,” she said, scowling.

She was right, but I wasn’t ready to start the pity party. “Yes, but our husbands’ jobs allow us to stay at home with our children and still manage to pay our bills,” I reasoned.

She nodded. “I never thought about it that way. I do like being at home with my kids.”

“Our husbands love us enough to work hard so that we don’t have to work,” I shrugged and added, “well, at least not outside of our homes.”

She nodded again, more thoughtfully this time. “I used to work at a bank. The job was all right, but I missed my kids and I hated being away from them.”

“I know what you mean,” I said. “I was a teacher, and I loved my summers home with them. Now I get to enjoy being with them year-round.”

“Yeah,” she said, “but now, instead of missing my kids, I miss my husband.”

I shrugged. “Didn’t you miss him when you worked at the bank too?”

She chuckled. “Good point.”

Score one for me, but I wasn’t done yet. “And think about this. At least our husbands are at work. A lot of men are gone at least as long as our guys are, but they aren’t working. They’re in bars and bowling alleys.”

“And the really bad ones are at other women’s houses,” she added with raised eyebrows.

I smiled. “So I guess that makes us some of the lucky ones.”

“Hmm, I’m one of the lucky ones,” she murmured and then she grinned at me. “I’m really glad I bumped into you this morning. I feel better than I have in months.”

I felt pretty good too. And why shouldn’t I feel good? I have a husband who works too much.

But he does it because he loves me. He does it so I can be a stay-at-home mom, which for me is a dream come true. He does it so I can live in a comfortable home and drive a reliable car. He does it to provide for our family and even take me on the occasional vacation.

I won’t be attending any more pity parties because as it turns out, my hard-working husband has given me plenty of reasons to feel really, really lucky.

~Diane Stark

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