Monday, May 9, 2011

These Times, They are a-Changin'

One might think that having a child automatically makes you feel like an adult. One would be wrong. It is very easy to still feel clueless and amateur and little after the birth of your own child.

As you may have read, a lot of major changes occurred in my life during the last couple of years. Though there were rough times for Dawson and I, we sort of sailed through the storm unharmed, more often than not because of the generosity and graciousness of our families and friends. While they may not have ‘bailed us out’ in the plainest of terms, they most certainly always made things as easy as possible for us. And that makes them the very best people in the whole world. It also inadvertently allowed me to continue living in my little bubble where things are easy and I don’t have to wear my big girl pants. There are also pretty unicorns and an endless supply of cotton candy in this bubble of mine. Anyway.

Lately, a lot of expensive things started to happen to us. Most of them aren’t really that bad, except that they are all happening at the same time and since Dawson and I weren’t planning on starting a family when we did, we don’t have the best savings plan in place. Or any savings. I have the sinking feeling that this time things are going to get worse before they get better.  Let me give you some of the details. We have a wedding to attend in October – our own wedding, as in the pricey kind that we are paying for. Then we finally bought life insurance, which is good except that we don’t really have the money for it. We only bought it because Dawson’s brother got a job selling it and did a really good job of selling it to us. Then our cat disappeared for twelve days and when he decided to grace us with his presence again, we had a $300 vet bill. Then the furnace broke. As in, broke and we need a new one. Not only has our bank account taken a serious beating but my eye has started to twitch when signing my name to anything resembling a cheque or credit card bill.

This is normally where I start hoping and praying that something magically happens at the eleventh hour to save us. But the weird part is that I don’t really want anyone else to cover our butts this time. I figure that if I don’t want to feel like a child than I have to stop acting like one. I think this means I’m starting to grow up. A little. Maybe. I can’t promise that I’ll stop having crying fits and stomping around my bedroom when things don’t go my way, but I do promise to try and find solutions to my own problems that don’t involve bailouts from my parents. It’s time for me to start making the tough decisions and be the one to make sure my family is safe and happy and healthy. These times, they are a-changin’.

To start, Dawson and I made a pact to not have any fun unless it’s free. It’s called the No-Fun Pact. We also got rid of some non-essential privileges, like cable and caller ID. Getting rid of the caller ID hurt a little –screening phone calls is a favourite pastime of mine – but the cable is what really broke my heart. It was my idea to cancel it but that didn’t lessen the sting. Me without cable is like Mary-Kate without Ashley or Pinky without The Brain; it’s just unfathomable. And then I decided to go back to work part-time. I got my old job back, one that I swore I’d never go back to. It’s not that it’s a bad job, it just has nothing to do with my non-existent career. Am I nervous about people looking at me like I failed at life because I came back after I said I wouldn’t? Hells to Y-E-S. Am I scared that I’ll get sucked into the familiarity of it and never be able to quit? So much that it’s sometimes paralyzing. But this job will help keep chicken nuggets on the table for Thumper and allow me to look like a princess on my wedding day in the budget-breaking gown I purchased. This job is what it’s going to take for my family to be safe and happy and healthy and that is worth it to me. Anyone who thinks otherwise can suck it.

What scares me the most these days is enormity. The enormity of being a parent and more so, I think, of being an adult. Making the decisions and planning and saving for the future, being the one to kiss away the boo-boos instead of having them kissed away for me, it’s all terrifying and overwhelming and exasperating. Because I don’t know how to do any of it. And every decision, whether big or small, feels like it could be the end of the world. But I guess knowing that you have to do it and deciding you kind of even want to do it are good signs. Right? That’s probably what it feels like to be an adult. Right? I don’t know if saying any of this out loud will make a difference. But who knows, maybe some of you will tell me you feel the same way. Then instead of feeling scared and crazy, I’ll just feel scared and I think I could live with that.


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