Monday, January 26, 2015

Regrets? Maybe Not

Valerie, Cupie and Dawn

I saw a post on-line where a woman was talking about having a difficult time making ends meet. She was turning 40 and was afraid she wasn't setting a good example for her kids. She said she didn't work when her children were small. Instead she did things with them, went on walks, picked flowers, listened to the crickets, which seemed more important than "stuff."

This is kind of how my husband and I chose to raise our daughters. He worked full-time and I either stayed at home or had some type of flexible part-time job.

I don’t regret a minute of being able to be there for our daughters’ first steps, their first words. I loved always being the room mom for their classrooms, going on field trips, being a scout leader, and filling in for other parents who weren’t able to have this luxury

We didn’t have a lot of money, we lived paycheck to paycheck, but I don’t believe the girls ever noticed.

Now that my husband is disabled, though, I do have misgivings for not staying with a job long enough for retirement benefits. Our life plan was for my husband to work until retirement and we’d be comfortable. Not rich, but not living in such a way as to worry about the house payment or paying for utilities and food in our bellies.

I’m not saying we’re struggling. We’re doing okay. But had I invested more time in a career we would be sitting a lot prettier. We wouldn’t be paying so much for medical benefits, co-pays for surgeries/procedures and prescriptions, or allowing our daughters to help (which is difficult, but it touches our hearts beyond words).

And then there’s the worry of losing my husband and the practical aspect of losing our income if that should happen. Not being able to contribute in a meaningful way financially makes me second guess the decisions of our prime earning years.

But then I think back on all of the time I had with our daughters. The precious time I spent helping my parents through their illnesses and deaths. All of the time spent tending to nieces, nephews, sisters and brothers.

My retirement benefits may not be monetary, but the memories I reaped along the way are priceless.

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