I understand the desire to WANT things. I “window shop” online for clothes and bathing suits when I’m bored or when I’m longing for something new.
I rarely make a purchase.
And I am excited to get back and buy everyone (including myself) new socks and underwear. I picture myself sitting poolside in a new bathing suit. I have several on my “wish list.”
I am looking forward to thrift shopping for new clothes for myself. For everyone, really. We are stepping back and moving away from new; second-hand is better in so many ways.
I don’t feel like my anticipation or my “window shopping” has or is consuming me. And I recognize the folly in wanting versus needing. This past year has been about fulfilling needs each person has in regards to clothes or shoes. Not wants.
The kids clothes have holes I have attempted to sew. Shoes have holes in them (a few new ones have been purchased). I can’t tell you about the state of our “unmentionables”.
I basically packed each person to have two weeks worth of clothes. Plus, some warm weather and cool weather clothes. Wearing the same two weeks worth of clothes for the entire school year has taken its toll on the clothes we brought with us.
Few items will make the return trip.
We brought Lego’s for the kids and they each brought one quart-sized ziplock bag of miscellaneous toys. This has been a stark contrast to the overwhelming number of toys they had in Washington.
And I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
They’ve made a doll house from a cardboard box. Spent days playing with window clings. Created with recycling materials. Drawn magical landscapes on paper for their trading-card magnets.
It’s has been wonderful.
Holidays have also been sparse in terms of gifts and in fulfilling wants. The Easter Bunny and Santa brought the few toys they have gotten while here in Spain. We have fulfilled the needs and provided experiences. Santa brought the playdough.
But as we near the end of living abroad experience, we each are suffering from homesickness. I have great empathy for the kids. I understand. I’m homesick as well. I would love to go to Costco or Target and get everything I need (want??) in one place.
Last week, the kids were feeling down. They were tired of the toys they had. And I empathized.
I suggested “window shopping” at toysrus.es for Lego’s. I suggested them making a wish list. I thought it would fill the homesickness/longing void as it had for me.
Except they are children. Everything to them is a need, not a want. They weren’t able to be satisfied with “window shopping” as I had been.
Needless to say one thing led to another and pennies were being counted and new Lego’s were on their way. I had hoped a few new sets of Lego’s would fill the gap between now and when we leave in less than 60 days.
It hasn’t. It’s been the exact opposite.
Fulfilling a few wants has fueled more wants.
And while I so enjoy watching their happy faces at getting a new package and how I love watching them spend hours focused at putting Lego’s together (which I firmly believe is a life skill for when they have to put together their IKEA furniture), I am sorry I ever let them “window shop.”
Everyday now is counting money, asking which stores in town are open and sell toys (few) and negotiating with me on purchasing more Lego’s online.
We’ve worked so hard to emphasize living with what we have. Living with what we need. Living to have experiences.
And we’ve lived with holes in our underwear, holes in our shoes and holes in our pants. I’ve lived with 5 plates, 5 bowls, 3 pans and no microwave. I’ve lived with no phoning it in to “Papa Johns” when I couldn’t think or contemplate yet another meal to make.
We’ve survived the winter, wearing nearly every piece of clothing each of us owned. We survived (and thrived) cuddling together watching Netflix and learning to crochet over cold winter months.
Yet, in those few minutes of weakness (and empathy) that I suggested my children “window shop” I seem to have unraveled the entire fabric we’ve created over this last year.
The two hours of window shopping, countless hours anticipating their package and the four hours of assembling their new Lego’s wasn’t worth the erosion of the experience/needs based values we had worked so hard to build upon this last year.
Somehow, I thought there would be a happier ending. Appreciating new toys. Appreciating the anticipation and savoring the new toys.
After so many months with living with what we had, I expected less want and more appreciation on receiving new toys.