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This Is How a Rich Life Looks Like
My daughter broke down in tears today when I told her it’s time to leave for the daycare. Her dad went on a business trip last Friday, leaving our usual routines in shambles. So far we’ve always stayed with my parents whenever my husband was traveling for work, but this time they were unable to host us. I decided that as long as I hire someone to walk the dog in the mornings, I should be able to handle everything else by myself.
On most days our baby girl loves going to the daycare. They have amazing climbing structures, a garden playground they visit regardless of the weather, lots of singing together, and a different art project to participate in every day. But most importantly they have other kids to play and run around with her, something we can’t yet quite organize for her at home.
This week however she doesn’t feel like going there at all. I asked her if there’s some specific problem I should know about, but she seems unable to answer me either way. Another mom told me the exact same thing happened to her 2yo when her husband left for a few days, she was crying at the daycare for the whole time he was traveling but as soon as she saw her dad again, the tears went away.
In our case it luckily wasn’t as dramatic. The teachers told me she’d calm down after the first 10 or 15 minutes and play with the other kids for the rest of her day. Still, after leaving my baby girl in tears for two days in a row, seeing her cry again this morning was simply too much. I hugged her, crawled back into bed and started reading her favorite book again.
For the rest of the day we were building sand castles, painting in watercolor, singing together accompanied by my guitar, dropping toy pearls down a LEGO playground slide, giving her teddy bear a carousel ride in the washing machine and making her rubber ducks race in the bathtub. We took our dog to the best ice cream shop in town, even though the dog would rather be somewhere else. I wouldn’t want to put off all the other things I planned to do for an entire week, but I’m lucky that I could easily put them off for a day.
I used to think that luxury means buying fancy stuff or experiences, that more money will allow me to live in a better home or go on some nicer trips. But ultimately this is real luxury to me, to be able to focus for a whole day on my daughter whenever she needs it without worrying about anything else. I could never afford this while working a regular job, we’d be richer on paper but also poorer in an extremely important way.
Being able to stay home together with my kid for no reason is an incredible privilege. What’s the use of all the money in the world if it can’t afford you spending time with your loved ones when they need you? We might drive a very unimpressive car and live in a much smaller apartment than some of my friends, but I’d never trade this for the biggest and most beautiful house that I must work day and night to pay off without ever taking a break.
This is obviously a very first world dilemma. Most people work hard day and night not to buy the most impressive house but to have a place to live at all. But I know plenty of other folks who feel like they absolutely must live in a certain neighborhood, drive a certain type of car, or send their kids to a certain kind of school and so they could never afford to work less than they do. Maybe they really could not, maybe they just haven’t thought much about this other kind of wealth.
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