A friend of mine shared this on facebook today. If you read one blog post today, it better be mine, so let me summarize hers for you.
1. I posted a picture of my kitchen that I’m totally satisfied with.
2. A bunch of people told me I should update it.
3. I compared it to pictures of updated uber-kitchens and felt disatisfied.
4. I compared it to no kitchen at all and felt grateful.
5. I love my family.
6. (People who love pretty kitchens don’t love their families as much as I love mine. And they are not as grateful as I am either. They don’t know what really matters, which is why I am better than them.)
I may possibly have inferred point 6. I tend to do that defensively because I love a pretty kitchen, I do, I do, I double do.
I’m super happy for her that she loves her kitchen and that she’s able to perspectacle herself into making only favorable comparisons. I’ve said before that wealth is more a matter of where you’re looking than what you have. You may be a billionaire and suffer from a sense of relative deprivation if you only consort with and compare yourself to mega-billionaires. At the same time, you may be dirt poor, but if no one around you has more dirt than you, you’re probably not that worked up about it.
I loved reading her post and smiled all the way through. Not because I felt like, “Wow, I should have just stayed in my rental and been grateful for refrigeration.” I’m infinitely happier in this house than I could ever have been in that because I care about how kitchens look and function. If I didn’t care, if I were a different being, it would be a different story. I was happy for her. For her story–until I started to get the feeling that she was lecturing all those people who offered her kitchen design advice.
It puts me in mind of one of my pet peeves. Have you ever heard someone say, “I cared about the marriage and not the wedding?” I have several times. I’m super happy for them that they don’t care about the wedding because they seem to be happy with that. However, I loathe the implication that it’s an either/or proposition, that caring about the wedding and caring about the marriage are mutually exclusive. Now you can probably surmise that I had kind of an Epic Wedding which nearly put me in a mental institution to plan, but do not therefore assume that I didn’t care about the marriage. I just love riding the border of derangement. It is my natural state from which I rarely stray too far. Moreover, for many people and cultures the wedding is the manifestation of exactly how much you care about marriage as an institution and the marriage at hand in particular.
I’m not going to go so far as to say how much I obsess over my hypothetical kitchen backsplash and cabinet pulls is a reflection of how much I love my children, but neither does caring about home design aesthetics preclude loving one’s children.
I may also note that injunctions to “STOP SPILLING ON THE NEW FLOORS!!!” in many cultures are considered terms of endearment that reflect a deep and abiding love for one’s children akin to worship.
I, too, am grateful for running water, refrigeration, food, public schools (which are decidedly un-free, I must beg to differ), microwave technology and my family. I am also grateful for induction technology, delicatus granite, crystal, polished nickel, transom windows, and oh so very many beautiful things that make the world worth bringing children into it. Yeah, I said that.
And while I’m being ever so appropriate, let me also note that her husband is pretty darn hot and goes a long way toward making the After shot of her kitchen infinitely superior to the Before.
Two can play at this game, ma cherie!