I’m not where I thought I would be.
I got to thinking the other night, when I couldn’t sleep, that I honestly don’t remember what I would have said if you had asked me as a high school senior where I would be in ten years. All I know is that this is not what I would have answered. I would most certainly not have said I dreamed of being a stay-at-home mother with a foreclosure and a bankruptcy (still pending) already under her belt. I lived in a fantasy world back then, believing that I would have a glamorous life, if only I could escape from small town Washington.
This life of mine is not bad, not really. There are the bad parts, of course. Brian and I spent too many years living beyond our means. It was fun. We went on vacations and ate out too much, we bought things when we wanted them not when we needed them. We didn’t worry about the mounting debt or how we were ever going to pay it off. We were very, very stupid. But we grew up and faced the consequences.
We lost our house, but it was a house that needed more work and money put into it than we could manage. It was in a shitty part of town where we were constantly at war with our neighbors and – at least I – lived in constant fear of the next break-in. Now, we live in an apartment again. It’s not really ours but it feels like home. Occasionally, the neighbors are loud, but most of the time it’s peaceful. I can go out on my deck – a deck! – and not see twenty people sitting on a dirty stoop with their music blasting from a car stereo.
We don’t have credit cards anymore. Every month we have to make it to the end without spending more than Brian brings home. It’s hard. Sometimes I go out and get something frivolous and then feel really guilty for days afterwards. But we have never not had food to put on the table or clothes for Lorelei – and us too – to wear. Most days, it doesn’t even bother me that I can’t just go to the mall and buy stuff just because I want it. It has taken me a long time to realize that I don’t need all of that stuff, but I finally have.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes financially. However, let me tell you, I have done everything right when it comes to my family. I have a husband who loves me and busts his ass working full time (plus the occasional part-time gig) so that I can stay at home with Lorelei. I have a daughter who never fails to light up a room with her smile. She’s almost always happy and well-behaved and although occasionally annoying when she’s pulling every single thing out of the desk drawers, I would not change a single thing about her.
I’m not surrounded by friends, but I have a small group who I love fiercely. They are amazing and generous and always there for me. It hasn’t always been easy for me – I will never by outgoing – but I’ve gotten really lucky.
This isn’t where I thought I would be, but here I am.