The other day I learned that Justin’s dad wants to take him for spring break so he can take him to Arizona on vacation. That was a little tough on me emotionally, but I figured it would be a good opportunity for Justin and since we did not really have any other plans it seemed fair. So, this morning when I dropped off the four youngest kids at school, Justin announced, “Dad is taking me to Arizona for spring break. And this summer he is taking me to Atlantis. Mom used to take me places too, but then she got divorced and now she never takes me anywhere.” Ouch.It was all I could do to get through the rest of the drop off before the tears started falling. And he’s right. I can no longer afford to take him on trips – not because I got divorced – but because I married a man with five kids and though I can afford to take two of us on vacation, I can not afford to take eight of us on vacation.
So, this amazing cloud of guilt came over me. Have I somehow diminished my child’s opportunities by following my own happiness? Is it fair that I can no longer provide for my child in the same way because I have added five children to the dependents column?
And perhaps in the biggest bout of self-pity I cried because I am the one who makes sure my son has socks and underwear and lunch money, that he has done his homework and practiced his piano, but none of that is very exciting or memorable to an eight-year old. So, for now I have to deal with the fact that his dad is Disneyland dad – the one who gets to splurge on trips and feed him noting but junk food and take him to exotic locations that I can’t any longer afford.
I just have to try to be okay with the fact that what I can give him is the company of three sisters and two brothers, and discipline and chores and well… socks. Might not be as glamorous as Disneyland or Atlantis, but I hope one day he will appreciate those things and hope it was all worth it.