My nanny is a happy person. When we have moments together when I am cooking or pumping or preparing Kaia’s solids or breast milk, she likes to tell me about how she is still so in love with her husband, who she has been with since high school (she’s 59 and he’s 60 now, so that’s a LONG time), how they still keep the flame going by doing little cute things for each other. She tells me how much she loves her children, her grandson, how close she is to her daughter. She loves to share stories of her sister who lives in Florida and how when they visit and stay with each other, they steal each others’ clothes, jewelry, and handbags, and the other has no idea it’s happened until they’ve already flown off. Then they squabble about it and laugh it off until the next visit. She told me about the time when she and her husband finally bought their own home in Mount Vernon, how dilapidated and unlivable the inside of the house was when they first moved in. But after three months of repairs and renovation with her handyman uncle’s help, the inside of their home is like new and feels comfortable, like a real “home sweet home.” They love to host family and friends at their home often, and she says there is nothing better in life than family.
“We may not have much money,” she says to me often, “but we have so much love in our family. And that’s better than all of Jeff Bezos’s money.”
On the one hand, there’s my nanny, who lives paycheck to paycheck who enjoys life, loves and values her family, and has functional, loving relationships with her family. She has a beautiful, comfortable home that she loves and is proud to bring everyone into. On the other hand, there’s my parents, who have no money concerns at all and could easily live lavishly until they died at age 120, but they are miserable, constantly seeking fault with everyone else, hate their relatives, and willingly choose to live in a dilapidated, cluttered, dirty home, a place where they hate having guests of any kind.
I thought about this for a while today. It really does not have to be an “either / or” situation, but in this case, it is. I’m happy for our nanny. I’m not happy for my parents… not in the least bit.