I won’t settle for shoddy material, but I will settle for secondhand.

Everyone loves a care package.

When we were living in Mexico, I felt so fortunate for the people in our lives who sent us packages.  I have friends and family who sent us presents for Christmas, and art supplies and other gifts, just because.  In particular, I have to thank my sister and her family for making sure our son D has had new jeans, shirts, and sweatshirts throughout each year since he was born.  But I also have to place high on a pedestal a couple of friends of mine who sent me used clothing in great condition, so that I wouldn’t feel (or look) so hopeless.

I would get anxious going into a Mexican store and trying to find clothes I wanted.  I have never been into the cheap, urban trends of skimpy, skin-tight, Bedazzled-style clothing in the same basic, annoying colors that they sell virtually everywhere in Monterrey.  Or anything cholombiano.  That’s just ridiculous.   There was a particular mall, Valle Oriente, in which I felt more comfortable — but it was far from where we were living, and while it was more like what I was used to in the U.S., the prices were not quite friendly enough for a couple of young parents who sold eggs from their home to make a living.  So we would “make do” — a term that is not at all foreign to me.

On a number of occasions, my friends sent me an array of clothes that meant just about the world to me.  One of my friends, Cassie, was especially awesome for the basics — the Gap favorite tees, warm sweaters, etc. that I ended up wearing nearly to threads.  And as usual, my friend Olivia (who maybe knew me too well sometimes) forced me to step outside of my normal boundaries by sending me flowy and differently-cut blouses and tanks in all styles, and lean jeans that she knew would fit me.


Wealth comes in many more forms aside from just money: D and me at a public plaza in Zuazua, Nuevo León.

When I received those hand-me-downs… goodness gracious, I felt like the wealthiest girl ever.

Sometimes when we are in the middle of a struggle, we feel miserable.  I’ve felt miserable plenty of times.  But there are always slivers of silver lining that help us get through those moments, and those are the moments that can begin to define our strength more than our happy times can.  People who have little tend to appreciate more; unfortunately, in modern First World society, we don’t have to live without much, and we end up taking practically everything for granted.  While others snub them, it is priceless to realize that we can appreciate the small things wherever we are.


2 thoughts on “I won’t settle for shoddy material, but I will settle for secondhand.

    • I admit that I admire new, shiny, beautiful things, and often enough envy others for what they have (and who doesn’t?)… but more and more, I have been able to look at everything that we have in our lives and see the wealth. While I always want to tweak our situation at least a little, I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything!

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