My eight-year old son woke me up on Christmas morning and said, “I think Santa came but I’m not sure. There is not a lot of presents.”
This was my first Christmas since starting this journey to control and eliminate my huge and embarrassing debt.
My first reaction to my son’s words was frustration. Deep down I felt this twist in my stomach thinking that in some way I was not being a good mom by providing my kids with this over-the-top Christmas morning like the kind we watch on YouTube.
But on the outside I looked at my son and by using the art of distraction I asked him to take me to see what Santa had brought for everyone.
I walked into my living room and really looked around the room. I saw a Christmas tree full of ornaments that each means something to my family.
I have an ornament from Radio City Music Hall when we saw the Rockets in New York for the first time. I have a surfing Santa to represent the state of Hawaii where my daughter was born. There is an ornament of Elvis because my husband is such a big fan.
Plus there was an ornament from our first Christmas together more than 16 years ago. At the back of the tree are those tacky ornaments from my Mother-In-Law– but all and all a pretty memory-filled tree.
I started a fire in the fireplace, put the breakfast casserole in the over, lit the candles, and made coffee. We sat around the tree each taking our time opening gifts, some were silly, and some were on the top of the wish list…Legos! B
ut the best gift was having my usually deployed husband home to actually open gifts with us.
I think my son was a little disappointed that our living room didn’t look like an explosion of gifts as it did last year, but I hope in the long run I will be teaching him that money in the bank, living within our means and being thankful for what we do have it more important than stuff.
I must admit this is not easy. In reality this is the hardest thing I have ever done because of the long commitment.
I am a short-term, immediate gratification kind of girl. Just the fact that paying off my debt and solving my money problems will take me years and not months is frustrating.
But it did take me years to get into this mess, so I will use patience a new found skill and continue to commit!
I hope 2014 will be my best year yet and I hope if you are carrying any debt please make the commitment to be free of the burden. We already sacrifice so much as military spouses I am taking debt off my list of stressors…OK, not soon, but eventually!