You know how it feels when someone is getting ready to take your picture and you smile . . . at first, it feels right and natural but as the photographer fiddles with the lens and the light and the angle, your face starts to feel strained and unnatural? Then, when he still hasn't taken the picture, your cheeks start to hurt and your muscles complain? You feel like you are grimacing instead of grinning?
I am at that point.
For a week now I have "grinned" and kept a sense of humor about our lack of money.
I have chuckled when Christmas morning came and went without a gift for me (I did get a LOVELY poem from my Nicole.) We managed to get what we needed for the kids, which was what mattered.
And I smiled as we used Christmas money to pay the utility bills. By now, though, the grin was feeling a tad forced.
And I kept a sense of humor when we drove 45 minutes to get two days of mail waiting at the Post Office, only to find NO CHECKS in it because everything was still 4-5 days behind. My cheeks began to ache.
But today, we STILL did not get mail. And I felt the smile falter. It trembled a little on one side and almost crashed but I yanked it back up.
This has been an outrageous situation and I am trying oh so hard to keep smiling about it, really I am. Somewhere out there is $9000 that has been on its way to me for weeks now. It is the mortgage payment. Bills. Christmas. Groceries. It's mine. I earned it. And I WANT IT, damnit.
So know that I still have a smile on my face. And just overlook those cracks on the side. Don't notice the trembling in the foundation.
I know, Dad. This too shall pass. You've told me and I am trying hard to keep smiling as I remember.