Growing up I never considered myself to be spoiled, but my sisters saddled me with the moniker anyway. I think that’s a burden many youngest children bear whether it’s fitting or not. To be honest, from my perspective, it was the complete opposite. They had later bedtimes and a bigger bedroom. My bedroom made Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs look positively palatial. They also got 50 cents a week in allowance when I only got a quarter. True, they had more chores to do, but still. Throughout my childhood nothing could convince them that they had it better, nor could anything convince me that they didn’t.
When I got married for the first time at the ripe old age of 19, I didn’t feel spoiled either. Barely eking by in a stark walk-up apartment with steel casement windows and hand-me-down furniture didn’t reek of pampering. Most everything we purchased was either second-hand or something we scrimped and saved for to buy new. I didn’t feel deprived, but I certainly had no notions of being blessed.
After that marriage crumbled to pieces, I was forced to take my two young girls and move in with my parents until I could find my financial footing again. Gratitude for their generosity abounded, but in giving up all of my worldly possessions (meager as they were) in exchange for primary custody, I didn’t feel like it was an embarrassment of riches.
I did, however, start to feel more blessed and spoiled when I remarried. I finally had a life partner who was loving and placed me above all else, and I wanted nothing more than to reciprocate in kind. Twenty-one years later I still get razzed by my more feminist of friends for making him breakfast in bed every workday. Little things like that go a long way in reminding someone daily how they are appreciated. I don’t see it as setting back the women’s movement, but rather repaying the kindness he’s shown me for decades.
Even though I was now in a happy environment with my needs being met on a regular basis, I felt like we had it better than some but tougher than most. When we made the decision that I would be a stay-at-home mom, the luxuries that two paychecks afforded flew out the proverbial window. Belt-tightening was in order and sacrifices were made. It was bearable though and provided our children with unfettered access to a taxi driver, a maid, a cook, and a laundress. On par with Cinderella pre-Fairy Godmother. Hardly spoiled.
As the nest emptied, the belt was able to be loosened. Luxuries like ghost hunting paraphernalia and camera equipment came on scene and provide us with some fun hobbies to fill the time that had been freed up now that we were no longer running here and there with the girls’ activities. Everyone had hobbies though. In a world where twenty-somethings can be billionaires by displaying their lives on reality tv and becoming brands, it hardly felt extraordinary.
Enter the pandemic and quarantine. Store shelves that were once stocked to the brim were now barren. Everyday items that we’d assumed would always be there had vanished and become rare and covetable treasures. People were actually posting on social media with glee their toilet paper and hand sanitizer finds. And moreover, their friends and followers were congratulating them! Who could have imagined such a thing a mere six months ago. It would have been laughable to even suggest it then.
Come to find out, all of my life I had been spoiled. Spoiled with the option of my favorite brand of toilet paper. Pampered with the ability to leave my home whenever I wanted without imminent fear of contracting a possible life-ending illness. Graced with a bounty every time I stepped foot through motion-sensor operated glass doors at the grocery.
Odd that for all of the moments in my life where not only my needs, but my wants were met that it occurs to me now how spoiled rotten I am. I am blessed with good health, and a home in which to shelter in place. I’m the undo beneficiary of the labor of the essential workers keeping the economy going and our lives as normal as possible. And I am graced with the many online friendships I have made that give me an abundance of people with whom I can share experiences.
What a glorious bounty indeed. I only hope that once this time passes and “normal” life resumes again, that I keep the same level of gratitude when I pick up a 6 pack of Brawny paper towels. Not to do so would mean all this was for naught.
As always, I’m wishing you continued good health and safety. For those who are struggling, you have my daily prayers and can always contact me if there is some way I can help you. XOXO