I am trying to be conscious of the concept of giving what I need in order to attract it back into my life. This is not that hard to attend to as I try to be a thoughtful and giving person in my daily life as much as possible. But it is hard from the standpoint of not thinking that I have much to give because my own pantry is bare.
I went to see Sam over the weekend, leaving after taking my state certified nursing exam, around 5:00 p.m. I had made sure that the boys had friends to sleepover with as I am not comfortable having them overnight on their own. The boys did not want to go with me as they had just finished finals week and it was a long weekend with the Martin Luther King holiday. There were activities planned with their friends to celebrate the end of the semester.
So I drove the four-hour trip even though I was very drained from the week of finals and my own exam. Part of the reason I went to see Sam was that he had his son visiting and on Sunday had to work. My being there would avoid having to get a babysitter and/or bring his son to work with him for at least part of the day. If I can help out and give a helping hand I'll do so. I want to. It is positive to feel useful and valuable.
Being at Sam's gave me an opportunity to have a bit of a break from parenting my boys. I had the time to do some knitting and reading which translates into huge relaxation for me. Sam's son is 11-years-old and no trouble to be around. He enjoys playing his computer and video games on his own and is a pleasure to interact with.
When I left on Monday morning, Sam let me take home the leftover food he had picked up for his son's visit. This included milk, Hawaiian punch, 2 boxes of Little Debbie snacks, fruit snacks, french fries, bread, yogurt, hot dog buns, a box of Cheese crackers and 2 mini fruit pies. In addition, he let me have some bath tissue, a roll of paper towels, liquid dish soap, a can of peas, a stick of butter and even a new stick of deodorant from a two-pack since my oldest was out. Now this offering was really like hitting the mother load! We are really strapped and I am not buying items like cookies or snacks for the boys. When I started putting the items away at home, my youngest joked that it was better than the food pantry (sad to joke about this - sadder that it is true). To be able to have fresh items in the home like bread, milk, juice and yogurt is a gift.
I was and am grateful for these things. It cost me $45.00 in tolls and gas one way to make the trip. Sam provided me with this amount also for the return trip. I wish I did not have to rely on him for the gas money to get back home but this was a very lean month, especially with having to pay the speeding ticket for my son - that had to come out of the grocery budget.
I would like to believe that my helping Sam out with being there for his son resulted in my sons receiving some nice snacks that they would not have ordinarily. I didn't make the trip expecting to go home with anything other than some dish soap so it was the bounty was a nice surprise for me too. Just the milk alone, since the boys are going through a gallon every two days.
Yesterday, Sam called me to ask a favor. He was $80.00 short in his checking account and the mortgage payment was being taken out today. Because he now lives out of state, banking has become a little problematic. He would have had to leave work at noon in order to drive to Illinois and make a deposit. Sending a check by overnight mail was not an option since an out-of-state check takes longer to clear - he needed the cash deposited in his account. Fortunately, there is a branch of his bank in my town and very fortunately I still had (barely) $80.00 in my own account to withdraw. Even though I am cutting it very close with finances, I wanted to assist him because I could - it was a tight squeeze but it was the better option than Sam having to leave work early and drive 8 hours, not to mention the gas expense. Sam kindly reimbursed me the $80.00 and added another $20.00 which he sent out by Fed-X, so except for me worrying a bit that my own balance is low, all is good.
At least I know that even in such dire times I can still get someone out of a jam. And I hope that the spirit of caring and sharing that was created this weekend will continue to flow. Sam mentioned that we are a good team together - that too.
Today I am grateful for:
1. Being given opportunities to help someone out. This is very important when you're struggling yourself and don't think that you have anything to give. It is not true to believe this - there are ways to give other than financial. But it is ironic that I was even able to help out financially!
2. All fresh food - the basics: milk, bread, butter, yogurt, eggs, fruit. I don't think I will ever again take for granted a simple loaf of bread or carton of milk.
3. The bag of Gala apples I was able to buy at ALDI for only $1.29!
4. The grocery store, ALDI. This chain sells at a considerable savings. I am shopping there almost exclusively because of the deals.
5. That the heating blower in the van started blowing again after it appeared to not be working. If it can just hold up another month I'll be even more grateful!