Tag Archives: quality time

Big Ballin’ on a budget

My husband and I are very blessed to live on a cul-de-sac with some amazing neighbors. One set of neighbors in particular are very dear to us.

John and Sarah Smith* have been our friends and neighbors for about 8 years now. They are thoughtful, funny, down-to-earth people whom we trust wholeheartedly. Ironically, we have so much in common:

  • We’re the same age.
  • We’ve been married for the same number of years.
  • We both have two children, a son and a daughter, who are around the same age.

In addition, their kids and our kids have been friends since they were toddlers and they’re still best buddies to this day.

John and Sarah are good people and wonderful parents for a lot of different reasons but one thing, however, has been a source of contention for me, and that is their “big baller” status.

Since we’ve known them, the Smiths have gone on a number of spectacular vacations. Compared to ours, their lives (and their family trips, in particular) are the equivalent of, say, Jay Z and Beyoncé to our Homer and Marge Simpson.

For example, when we go to the county fair, they go to Disney Land. We may go to Virginia Beach, but they’ll go to Cozumel. We may buy our kids Nintendo 3DS for Christmas and they’ll purchase a PlayStation 4. We have a perfectly good used minivan and they have a spanking brand new minivan. Well, you get the picture. As a result, I have secretly and quietly started hatin’ on the Smiths.

For instance, as Spring Break approached, I decided that we should go on a family trip. I convinced my husband to book a reservation to this fabulous (and pricy) indoor water park. While most families in this area have already been to this water park several times, we had never been. I mean, we’re probably the only family that hasn’t been to Disney World, but that’s another story.

Anyway, after I booked the trip, I mentioned this to Sarah. She said it was a great facility and that we were sure to have a good time. I then asked, “So…what do you all have planned for Spring Break? I guess you’re going to Australia, huh?!” We both chuckled. She said, “No, we’re actually going to Northern Virginia to visit family.” Then without missing a beat she said, matter-of-factly, “Oh, but did I tell you that two weeks after Spring Break we’re going on a Disney Cruise?” I immediately cursed my friend in my best Florida Evans’ impersonation… “Damn, Damn, DAMN, you Smiths! We can’t keep up with you big ballers!” And she and I laughed out loud.Damnb

Obviously I love them dearly and wish them no ill well. They’re a wonderful family and I’m happy that they’re blessed enough to plan exciting family trips and have the financial means to do so. More than that, even when they’re in town, they do fun things with their kids as well as my kids. They’ll go on walks, bike rides, and take advantage of the excursions in our area. So it’s clearly not all about the money to them; they genuinely enjoy spending time together as a family.

I guess I secretly wish we were able to do more fanciful excursions with our kids and to create more of those “Kodak moments” I always dreamt of when I was a kid. Our children are growing up so quickly and I want them to have wonderful memories of vacations and family trips.

My husband works extremely hard in the restaurant industry which keeps him busy most days (including weekends), so we’re not always able to spend time together. But he makes every effort and we do so if and when we can.

However, what I’ve come to realize is that the most important thing is that every moment our family spends together is precious. Helping our children with their homework, going on walks together, watching a movie, engaging in a pillow fight or tickle battle — these moments are the lasting memories that we’ll savor once our children are grown. So whether we’re going to the public library, the park, Myrtle Beach, McDonald’s, a family reunion, or sitting on our front porch slurping popsicles, the most important thing is that we love, laugh and appreciate each other, and savor every quality moment together.

So the next time our neighbors tell us about their upcoming trip to the Caribbean, I’ll be like Jay Z, flick the imaginary dirt off my shoulder and proudly say, “We happen to be on our way to Walmart. Deal with it!” 🙂

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.


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