This summer is special to me because, well, we’re broke. Behind on the mortgage, disconnect notice, eating Ramen broke. Not broke, as in “Aw, man, I’d love to go to your lake house for the week, but I’m broke” broke. Broke as in “Honey, help me scrounge for change so we can buy diapers because we’re down to the last one” broke.
How is it that we find ourselves in this dilemma? You see, my husband and I had this crazy dream. We wanted to be teachers! We were going to change the world, one eager student at a time. We were going to read poetry, and inspire young minds to think original thoughts! We were going to write lesson plans, and grade papers. We were going to eat terrible cafeteria food, and chaperone the middle school dance. But, the great state of New York had other plans for us. These plans involved seven college degrees, and six partial jobs. Yes, that’s right. Even working six jobs between us, we still can’t afford to put gas in the car. My husband works at a bike shop, managing the web site and working the floor. He also teaches classes at the local community college, as well as a State school and a private university. I also work at a private college, tutoring and working with students with disabilities. This summer, I also signed on to work as a library technician, and took a part time job at a clothing boutique.
Summer is always a hard season for us, because as teachers, we don’t have work. My husband occasionally teaches a summer English class, but alas, apparently students were somehow proficient enough to not need summer help this year. Once upon a time, I dreamed of having summer vacations with my family, driving down the coast, or seeing the Grand Canyon. Now, I have night terrors of having the car repossessed, or not having anything to feed my daughter. I find myself wishing for the day that I might have a salary of $30,000 with (dare I even write it?) benefits!
We keep on truckin’. I wake up to a beautiful, intelligent 18-month-old, smiling and bouncing in her crib. She doesn’t know we’re broke. She doesn’t know that I want more for her, that I want to take her to Disney World in an outfit that was purchased, NEW, from a cute little shop without a “mart” at the end of its name. All she knows is that her mommy and her daddy adore her, and while we can’t give her stuff, we can give her more love than any kid could need. And honestly, she’s made me feel rich every day this summer.