Thursday, November 04, 2010

All things considered....

I am feeling thankful this morning for, of all things, my work schedule. Yes, I realize that I have spent an obscene amount of time on this blog lamenting the schedule that Ruanita and I keep. Yes, it is difficult working opposite shifts. Yes, it is arduous work to be de facto single moms Monday through Friday. Yes, I have historically been unabashed about voicing my loathing for our current situation. However, this morning I was hit in the face with an image that made me realize that we have it pretty damn good.

As I walked out the door this morning to head out to work, I noticed my neighbor across the street out in his front yard. Initially, I rubbed my eyes...thinking I was seeing things since I was still in my pre-coffee stupor. It was dark outside and it took me a few seconds to comprehend exactly what he was doing. As I approached the street, I realized that he was raking and bagging leaves. In the dark. At 6:00 in the morning. And he had apparently been at it for quite some time because he was nearly done with his entire yard. What the hell!?

My neighbor and his wife have two young just turned four and the other is maybe approaching two years old. I really like them. We've never hung out socially, but we've babysat their kids a few times and they always invite our kids over to play when they pull out their inflatable jumping castle or their little swimming pool in the summer. They are just genuinely nice people. Like Ruanita and I, they work opposite shifts so one of them is always home with the children. Their children have never been in daycare. I am not sure what he does, but I know that his wife is a waitress and, unlike Ruanita and I, does not get weekends off work. Whereas Ruanita and I do the single parent thing five days a week, they typically do it seven days a week. Ruanita and I are lucky enough to have our weekends free, so chores like raking leaves and cleaning out our gutters (which we did this past weekend. ugh. ) can be done when there are two of us at home to wrangle the children. My neighbors aren't quite so lucky. Hence, the 6:00AM raking frenzy.

I didn't say anything to my neighbor. By the time I approached my car, he was conveniently hidden behind his minivan. I felt like I should offer to help. Of course, since it was extremely early in the morning, I had not yet had my coffee, I was dressed in business attire that was not really conducive to manual labor, and I was on my way in to work, that was a ludicrous thought. However, the whole scene filled me with an unexpected sense of gratitude. My schedule may be tough. My kids may annoy me at times. They may have kicked me out of my bed AGAIN this morning, but at least I was still in my nice warm house and not out in my frigidly cold yard frantically trying to finish yard work before heading into work. All things considered, we don't really have it that bad.


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