This morning I went for a walk in the woods in the rain wearing my new, black, pink polka-dotted rubber rain boots. On a whim the other day, I bought them. I am 45 years old and these are the first pair of rain boots I have ever owned. They were not expensive, but I think I’ve always felt that rain boots were extravagant. If I walk in the rain it won’t matter, I can just wear old shoes. They’d get wet, my feet would get wet, but then they’d dry – simple as that. I can tell you now that that’s not true. It does matter. After an hour of walking in the wet leaves and mud, I came home a happy camper with completely dry feet. Bliss.
Same can be said of my new ice skates. There’s a free rink here in Belgrade and my two boys have discovered the joys of skating. We went a lot last winter. It’s even free to borrow the skates. We’d wait in line, stamping our feet in the cold, sit down on the bench beside the outdoor rink, and put on an old pair of skates that someone else’s feet had just been in. Mid-winter, I skidded to a halt. Wait a minute! I can go out and buy my own pair of skates. It was kind of a revelation.
I haven’t always been this lucky. Looking back over the span of 45 years, I haven’t always been able to afford whatever I want. But it feels like I can afford most things now. I can go out to dinner and not worry about it. I can go shopping for my family and buy what we need. Like my parents did, I do not obsess about money, only because my husband and I are doing a bit better than they ever did.
I guess the need that I do feel is to acknowledge that. Not to take what I have for granted, because life is funny. Good fortune can turn. What I have today, I may not tomorrow.
Like my kids. Look at them. There they are – four and six years old – innocent as can be, and charmingly so. But tomorrow, a year from now, a blink of an eye away, that innocence will be gone forever. Yesterday my oldest boy lost his front tooth. He came home from school with a big gap where that tooth used to be. It was in little tooth necklace, wrapped around his neck which he wore all day. At dinner my boys and I discussed the tooth fairy. We wondered how she gets inside the house. The general consensus was that it’s through the window – not a crack in the window, but the window itself, right through the glass. Magic, see?
The question of whether she exists or not has not even entered their minds. How could it when my son woke up this morning with his tooth gone and in its place was a hundred dinar note? Who else could have put it there if not the tooth fairy? She came in through the window, late at night.
Pinch me now. I have two little boys who believe in the tooth fairy.