My energy lately has been going to keeping food, interesting and healthy food, on our table. It's been a long haul. I get paid twice monthly but because most of one paycheck goes toward our mortgage, it really only feels like I get paid once a month. I feel like I've been a broken record lately with all my penny pinching. In the past two weeks we've probably spent just $20, buying little other than some fresh produce and dairy.
Tonight I was chopping, boiling, and dicing. One more dinner. I can do this. I can make one more dinner with what's already in the house. Fried rice will use up the leftover chicken, frozen peas, and the not-so-crisp carrots in the 'crisper.' It'll be our "last supper," I thought wryly, imagining tomorrow's grocery shopping trip with its enticing promises of fresh lettuce, dishwasher detergent, and graham crackers.
During my meal preparation my mind cleared. I had quiet time: Kaelen was asleep, Gene was working in the garage, the dog was no longer underfoot. I was mulling over thoughts of a blog about this final meal before payday when my cell phone dinged the receipt of a text.
A girlfriend of mine who works for a fire department wrote to ask me to give Kaelen a hug for her. Earlier in the day a little boy had fallen from the third floor window of an apartment building. Amazingly, his injuries are not life-threatening but everyone was profoundly rattled.
Suddenly, my melancholy self-talk about the "last supper," budgeting, and grousing about our lack of disposable income shifted to gratitude. Gratitude for my son sleeping soundly and safely in his crib. Gratitude for the responders who experience troubling personal trauma when they see events like this. Gratitude for my dear friend for keeping Kaelen in her heart. Gratitude that I have the knowledge and ability to create healthy and nourishing meals for my family. Gratitude that I'm not being furloughed next week.
Gratitude that the family whose child fell did not unwittingly have a last supper yesterday.