It’s a fine late winter day, the kind that makes you believe that, yes Virginia, it will be spring again. The sun is warm and telling the snowbanks who is boss, there’s no wind, and you can smell it-you can smell spring driving down a country road, the wind in her hair and smell speckling her face.
Rosalyn turns 4 on Monday, so we venture out, as much to figure out what to get her as to get Mommy sweet deliciousness at Starbucks (yes, I’m addicted to my soy lattes. They know what I want before I order. So?) Turns out she’d like every Barbie and Princess toy known to man.
Good to know.
I’m standing with her, enjoying the diffuse light through the skylight while waiting for her father, as she points at “all the pretty puwses!”, feeling people rushing by on every side, the perfume in the air, the pretzel smell, the crying of small babies. I hear and see the blur, staring absently at a sale sign.
Soon, I might not have the money to do this.
Soon, my days of taking the kids to the mall and buying something treat like and pointless may be over. I may be taking a significant pay cut, and the extras, they’ll go out the window.
It’s not like I’m extravagant by any means-my idea of a treat is a 5$ coffee and a 10$ bottle of OPI. I buy most clothes and books for the girls, and a large amount for me, at thrift stores. I feel like I spoil my girls, but I know that I don’t.
I’m not necessarily bothered by the idea of having less money. I mean, yeah, I thought at 31, I’d have a stable job and income, a good income. But then, I don’t have a degree in anything aside from crazy, so why I’ve always thought that I don’t know. I suppose I felt that by this age, the nutty scraping by for money would be over. I never wanted to have to experience that with my kids. I know my parents did, and I at least wanted to be comfortable enough to just not worry-to be able to provide the basics and a little extra without stress. To grocery shop without worrying about coupons.
Part of me feels this relief-relief that I can stop pretending I’m something I’m not-putting on the “successful woman in business” mask never pleased me, and made me increasingly queasy as time went on. It wasn’t me. It’s been paying the bills, but it just wasn’t who I am. We don’t need to make 200K a year to survive-we’re not about that. Roof over the head, shirt on the back-and we’re good.
I sat purging through some old stuff, fuck, even clothes from high school, and found myself in our front room, surrounded by piles of kids books, oodles, 98% of them read multiple times, each with a specific memory. Most I paid maybe 75 cents for, but the joy they’ve given, it cannot be priced anymore than the absolute sanity that has descended upon my head since losing my job.
That’s right. There was a monkey on my back, weighing me down, hurting me almost, and once I walked out that door, he just…floated away and ever since I feel something odd-I feel happy. I feel sane. I feel like ME again.
I’ll trade the trips to the mall. I’ll make every recipe out of my casserole book for 2.50 a meal. I’ll do what I can to preserve this place I’m now sitting in-this place of warmth and love and joy, a place I never thought I’d find again.
I have this sneaking suspicion that losing my job will be the best thing that has ever happened to me.