Yesterday, Eldest wandered up to me in that sidelong way she does when she dearly wants to ask for something she’s pretty sure she’s not going to get.
With her birthday right around the corner, I was ready for about anything. What would it be? A personal television with Play Station for her bedroom? A birthday trip to Disneyland? Some $50 video game? A pony?
After the necessary beating around the bush (so as to not seem too anxious, you see), she finally came out with it: “You know, mommy, it’s my birthday in two weeks [no, REALLY?!] and I was thinking that I’d really like to bring doughnuts to my classroom but I understand if we, you know, can’t afford to do that…”
I looked at my not-so-little-almost-twelve girl and was kind of torn between laughter and tears, really.
Even when things were at their worst, I’m pretty sure I could swing three dozen doughnuts.
As we went through that ugly year, I never hid things from the Denizens. I didn’t dramatize much (especially since Boo Bug will glom onto any drama and magnify it by about a zillion), but I didn’t try to pretend things were just as they always were.
So last year when they asked for things like a birthday weekend at Disneyland or having a BIG party at one of the local fun spots, I was pretty upfront with them about why we weren’t going to be throwing down $300 or 500 for their birthday.
They were awesome about it. I can’t speak to other people’s children, but I can tell you this about mine: If you can put these rather adult concepts into terms they can understand, they become excellent partners. They’re eager to be part of the “tribe,” so to speak – contributing to the family’s well-being.
I didn’t get a whole lot of whining from them, even though our lifestyle did change kind of dramatically. Still not getting a lot of whining from them, even though holy guacamole, are they ever taking the punishment right now so that I can commute to work every day. It’s not fair, what they’re being put through; but, well, it is what it is.
And they are, as always, handling it with more graciousness than most adults would, let me tell you. (Or at least, than this so-called adult would. Or does. My whining is occasionally a bit on the epic side.)
Needless to say, she’s bringing doughnuts to school on her birthday.
And I am about to log off for the day. For the week. Excuse me, but I am going to go fall face-first on the couch for a few hours and refuse to budge.
I had 50.25 hours billed before I turned on my laptop this morning.
Holy crap, what a week…but I just keep telling myself, say I, “Self! Keep thinking of that lovely paycheck in three weeks time…”
(And then I have to say things like, “No, Self, you do not get a Palm Pre…no, we’re not eating out tonight either…NO, you’re not spending $48 on filet mignon at the butcher’s, what are you NUTS?!...OK, you’ve got me there, it is a lot cheaper than buying dinner at Texas Roadhouse…but still…”)
(And I had it easy, comparatively speaking. One gal on our team, I swear to Dog, has to have worked at least 90 hours this week. At least. INSANE!!!)
G. K. Chesterton
12 hours ago