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My Heart Broke Yesterday

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My son has an event at school soon, and yesterday I found out that I cannot go due to work. When he got home from school I broke the news to him.

He started crying and said, “Now I won’t have my family there.”

Somehow, I was hoping he would be more okay with it, but it wasn’t okay with him at all. I reassured him that Daddy would be there.

“But I want Momma and Dadda to go.”

I tried not to cry myself, and just tried to be reassuring and I told him I’m sorry. After he left, then I started balling. I don’t like letting my son down and I’m not happy about missing something that’s important to him. I also just want to be there.

After I quit crying, then anger set in. Anger at myself for letting our debt get so high in the first place. Anger because life would be so much different right now without debt. Just anger at that nasty four letter word!

One thing about anger that can be a good thing, is that you start thinking of ways to “get back” at what is angering you. For me, I was angry at my debt because without it I wouldn’t have to work as much or I could have the freedom to start my own business and make my own hours. Then I could be there for my son. How could I “get back” at my debt (e.g. free myself of it)?

My first thought was to sell much of what I own. While I could make money from that, it would be no where near $25,000 worth. Then I thought that I would work more. That wouldn’t work because I’m pretty stressed out as is and I’m actually reducing my hours to only 40/week come January.

It’s time for me to sit down and make a better game plan. Before, it was just a matter of making as much as I could and sending as much money as I could towards our debt. It technically was a plan, but not a very fine-tuned one. It’s time to figure out the nitty gritty details.


16 Comments

  • Reply D |

    Wow, I am feeling you! I remember these days. I missed so many. Although, debt was coupled with my reasons, it was more the divorce.

    Even today I am still haunted by my absences. For instance, now I am always there, but if something comes up, my kids say..”it’s ok, I don’t need you there.” Let me tell you that stinks too. They matured faster, being alone.

    I sometimes wish I could go back and do things differently. I just didn’t see how, at the time.

    Are you sure you couldn’t come in to work early or come back after the event and work late, or swap some time with another? I’m sure you have already thought of this stuff, I just feel like I need to help.

  • Reply Maria |

    It’s so hard to juggle family and work. On one hand you want to be there for them but on the other hand you need to have a job to support them. As women we have so much guilt in this area.
    Keep this in mind, at least your child had someone to go even if it wasnt both of you. 🙂

  • Reply mapgirl |

    Take a deep breath. This is the other side of it.

    This is the first time. Trust me, it won’t be the last time. But don’t let it be every time.

    He’s so young. There will be many more times in his school career for you to be there.

    Just don’t miss them all.

  • Reply Jen |

    🙁

    I think what mapgirl says is dead-on… This won’t be the last time, but there will be other things to attend. Also, this might be a good way to teach your son an important life lesson: we don’t always get what we want, but it’s not the end of the world. I think I started learning that lesson in nursery school when I didn’t get picked to lead the (fake) popsicle dance! I laugh now, but I remember I was very sad about it, but the nursery school teacher and my mom explained that you can’t always be first.

    Also, you could echo what Maria said – that at least one of his parents can go. In some families, both parents have to so much that neither can go to these events! 🙁 And, of course, there’s always those familes with divorced parents, but you don’t need to go into that with your son…

  • Reply Tricia |

    Thanks everyone. Unfortunately, there is no way I can squeeze out of work. We are fortunate that at least one of us can go. I guess I just want to be there. I like being involved in his life, and there are those times where he pushes me away. This wasn’t one of those times – he really wants the both of us there.

  • Reply NCN |

    I feel you pain…
    Here’s something that has worked for me in similar situations…
    Get some hot chocolate (or whatever beverage that you son likes) and a couple of big, warm blankets. Find a spot in your yard / roof top / whatever, where you can see the stars. Now, let it get very, very dark, and take your son outside, and both of you wrap up nice and warm. Talk to him about the stars, lay down on you backs, creating shapes from the stars, and just spend some time talking about his life, his hopes, your life, your childhood, etc. Make this a memorable experience for you son… I guarantee you that this moment, and a thousand other smaller moments will be the true treasures of his memory. My parents both worked, and they never saw me do much of anything at school. But, during the time that they had, they gave me their full attention, and my dad always managed to make even everyday things fun, exciting, and unique…
    You rock, you WILL BE debt free, and your blog has green!!!!
    your network guru and dork,NCN

  • Reply 3 things about money |

    Everyone that has commented so far is dead on. Undivided attention is such a gift, and it is free. I personally don’t remember the school events my parents went to…I remember fishing, and sitting at the table when my dad taught me card games, and going for walks. My dad asked me once when I was 6, what my dreams for the future were. I actually had dreams for the future and he listened with respect. I have never forgotten that conversation. Priceless. Keep going…being debt free is a gift to your children and their future as well.

  • Reply Maggie |

    That’s the worst. Good luck to you. He will recover. My suggestions: Did you have anyone you could ask to go for the sake of your son to be “someone” there for him? I am fortunate that I have been able to have a grandparent or even a Great Aunt be a stand in at such times.
    My Mom missed a lot of events because of her job as a nurse. I knew it was special when she took a day off when I was inducted into the JR. National Honor society.
    You are working towards something important. Your kids will realize this.

  • Reply bluntmoney |

    Can your husband take pictures or maybe video? Or, maybe your son could reinact his part (if it’s something with a part) for you at home? Or bring you home a flyer from the event and tell you about it afterwards?

    I know the heartbreaking feeling. I’m choosing to go to an event next week for a couple of hours, and I’m upset because it’s during a time when my son is with me. But in the long run it will help my business, and helping my business will mean I can spend more time with my son.

  • Reply mapgirl |

    I didn’t write all the other things I was going to say, b/c well, it still kind of kills me how much my parents missed. But NCN is spot-on. I had a lot of undivided attention time with my parents. We ate dinner at home nearly every night. You don’t sit and eat with the family, well there’s no food for you. We had a lot of great conversations together and my Korean language skills improved greatly from that time together as a family.

    As far as the undivided attention goes, yeah, that’s awesome advice. I think about all the things I would do by myself with my dad and those things are very important to me, fixing my bike, playing tennis, discussing politics. My mom and I would cook and clean together. She makes the greatest dumplings.

  • Reply Donna |

    Hi Tricia,

    I’ve been reading your blog since you got your Prosper loan. I can really feel your pain when something big comes along that you can’t attend. At least your husband can go. What I find sometimes when I can’t attend something with my husband and daughter is that when they’re describing what they did or saw, the retelling of the event to me brings us closer together than it would have been if I had been there. They get excited and start describing things that I may not have paid attention to had I actually been there. Maybe your son and husband will do that too.

    Also, there’s a book I’m reading called Your Money or Your Life and it’s very good at putting your life into perspective. I’ve read it several times and it always motivates me to keep my life balanced between having to make money and enjoying the things that are really important.

    Good luck, Donna

  • Reply joe w |

    Yeah, that really sucks. I have fired more than once for telling some employer that my family means more than their stinking business.

    If the people you work for won’t bend things for you to be part of your families life then what the hell good is having a family.

    If more people stood up for themselves and actually took the time to be with their families this country would run a lot differently.

  • Reply John |

    Getting out of debt is a balancing act… there is a spectrum of what you can do, ranging from extreme doing everything imaginable to reduce your debt… stealing, dealing drugs… to the other extreme of doing nothing.

    You are forced to choose your path on this continum. You have made a positive decision to work very hard to get out of debt as soon as possible. There are going to be sacrifices, and one hates to think that sometimes it has to come at the expense of family… but sometimes it does.

    Remember that in addition to loving him unconditionally, the most important thing you can give him is a stable home environment… and being financially secure is so important to that… your sacrifice now will assure him of a stable future.

So, what do you think ?