Someone once said “Always surround yourself with people who are better than you.” Well congratulations to me, I’ve done that. I am the ghetto-beauty hood rat of everyone I know. And I love it. But.
As I’ve mentioned, I have the smallest house, the least money, an utter indifference to the condition of my body, and no ambition that doesn’t involve writing. Or cake. Someday I’d like to eat a perfect cake, where the frosting is as light as mousse and there are perfect sugar roses all around it. I digress.
I made another friend tonight who is better than me. Her house is what jealous people call a McMansion. In reality it’s just a lovely large new house. She lives in it because her and her husband worked 90 hour weeks building up their auto repair business. Tonight when I stopped by to give her some Girl Scout paperwork, she invited me in and gave me candy-sweet champagne. She was celebrating because she’d just landed a contract for her now multiple shops with the third biggest insurance company in the state. Her hair is a no-nonsense pony tail, her accent broad mid-western, and she carries not even a whiff of trophy-wife. She’s a tough mother.
My daughter is near crisis as she befriends the non-thrift-store-dressed daughter, making yet another friend who lives in a palace of Corian counter-tops and free-standing glass-bowl bathroom sinks.
She runs into the living room…I think it’s the living room. Those houses have like four rooms that could be called the living room, and squeaks, “Their bathroom is huge and their shower has two places for the water that comes out and there’s a TV above the tub!” Wait till she looks around and find there are three more of the damn things. No one in our house is allowed to lock the door when they pee or shower, in case someone else needs to get in the bathroom.
I’m starting to wonder if maybe her exposure to how people live is unbalanced. I don’t remember the last time she was inside an apartment, or a house more than ten years old. Except ours. The last time she met a parent who worked because they must, not because they were trying to scale Maslow’s Hierarchy with a rewarding career they studied years to achieve.
I don’t know how to make my daughter stop sighing, “I wish our house was pretty. I wish our house was rich. I wish I lived at (whatever kid’s house she just left)’s house.” All she knows is Corian and spanakopita made with spinach from the Farmer’s Market. I don’t know how to get her to see the most of the world is closer to her own parents: potato salad and rental unit people; and they’re good, smart, and strong. That different isn’t always less. It took me a long time to really understand that myself. I want to make it a shorter lesson for her.