But moments like the one captured here would inevitably be infected by my father's insatiable need for "more." His piece of cake might not be cut large enough. He might remember that his adopted sister got more presents at birthdays than him. He might get angry that my mother's mother wasn't generous enough with us.
It wasn't just my father. I was raised by two parents who believed they always needed more: more money, more things, more love, more recognition. When a relative died and left money to charity, my father was furious that it hadn't gone to him. My father didn't get paid enough; his furniture wasn't nice enough, his car new enough. When the bank gave away free umbrellas, my father had to figure out how to get two dozen of them. My mother echoed the theme: when she saw something free at a festival, she stuffed her pockets with as many hot pink shoelaces or plastic key chains as she could carry. Living in a house filled with so much china, silver and other trappings that much of it was boxed in the basement, she was still convinced she should have gotten more of her mother's things.The concept of ever having enough was alien to them.
I have found what peace I have from turning away from the culture of "more." It took me years to see that I already had more than enough of everything I needed, and everything I really wanted: my husband, my children, my friends, my extended family, my health, my home. I have come—slowly!— to recognize the liberation, the beauty, the inherent fairness of "enough." My journey has been one of shrinking expectations, letting go of things, seeing more in less. Simply enough.