Today I said, “Okay,” when my daughter chose a $27 gift for her best friend’s birthday. I also used an entire pound of ground sausage for my lasagna. A year ago, the birthday gift would have needed to come in under $15 and I would have tried to make the lasagna work with a half or maybe three-quarters of a pound of sausage. It’s the little things I’m really appreciating as a result of having an income as a writer.
I’m a scrimper in a long line of penny-pinchers, and yet there is something ineffable about being able to use the amount of sausage that the recipe calls for. When I wrote my first novel (which shall never daylight see!) I made my main character’s family wealthy. I still break out in baby goosebumps remembering how fun it was to give her a great big McMansion and a car for her sixteenth birthday and a fridge full of soda. Her mom would have totally used a full pound of sausage in her lasagna.
I know the difference between things that matter (family, love, self-respect) and things that are ephemeral (Coke Zero, a tidy lawn, new beach towels), but there is really something lovely in being able to order a meal at a restaurant or say yes to the gift my daughter really wants to give her BFF instead of telling her to find something cheaper.
And for that, I am so very grateful to you, dear reader.
How do you like to treat yourself or your family when you have a little extra in your budget?