Not in a bad way. I’m pleased for them that they have such lovely homes, beautifully decorated and maintained. But I can’t help but wish we had one, too. When we first moved in, I had a lot of ideas for improvements. I wanted to save up for granite countertops. I wanted to build custom shelves for all our books. I wanted a large playroom in the basement with a full bathroom and a sauna. I wanted to replace all of our IKEA furniture with more solid, elegant pieces.
Ten years later, most of these things haven’t happened. The few nice pieces we had begun to accumulate have started seriously wearing out. Unfortunately, the money we would have used has gone to pay for autism therapy. If I had even a small fraction of it, I could have done major renovations or purchases every year.
I don’t regret the choice to put our resources into our boys and their future. It was never even really a question. But it doesn’t stop me from being wistful and wishing we could have nicer things. I feel ashamed to invite the other moms over when their children come on playdates. Our couches are starting to be more patches than original upholstery. It bothers me to feel that way about our home.
I draw a little comfort from knowing we’re not the only ones in this situation. A lot of families with special needs find themselves stretched financially. There are a lot of creative tips on saving money on the websites. I’ve even contributed some myself, like saving on laminating costs by using clear packing tape on pictures for the schedule or for communication.
We’re going to be pinching and stretching our pennies for a long time to come. I accept that. I’m even a little proud of our new-found skills to repair items we already have or jury-rig solutions. But it won’t stop me from wishing we could have a home which matched the vision in my head.