It seems like money is scarse these days. It’s no surprise, really, as hubs and I made the decision to keep Ri out of daycare for as long as possible.
We had a terrible experience with our selected care provider – the first and likely last in-home, private one I’ll use. Somehow my mommy radar was clouded by the prospect of a reasonable rate and Ri being the only infant under care. I’d had visions of her lavished in attention, getting a good routine, socialization, and age-appropriate activities. Instead, she built lung power with crying, spent too much time in her car seat waiting, and was carted around on an abundance of errands and outings not suited to a brand new baby. She also wasn’t the only baby for long – another child requiring special adaptation and care arrived a week or so later and seemed to become priority. And the number of holidays, personal days, and sick days crammed into our two month experience wouldve gotten the average working person fired. A one-sided contract favoring the provider served us up an unfortunate lesson – we pulled Ri weeks before summer vacation to save her and our piece of mind.
Since then, Ri has been exclusively with family. First, temporarily with her great grandmother, then with me, and now with hubs. It required giving up hours on work schedules and subsequently, a cut in pay. But it means Ri is raised exactly as we envision – cherished, trained, and strengthend by those who love her most.
This choice – to trade off on Ri’s care, hubs on days and me on nights and weekends – has strained our fairly new marriage. There’s a moment of passing between us, and Ri, our professional blocker, ensures that the sparse time is never exclusive to he and I. She mocks our kisses and makes us laugh. She positions herself in between us – the literal connection of her parents as well as the metaphorical bridge of our two once-separate families.
And yet we are thriving. Not monetarily, certainly. But we thrive on resources far more important: love, ingenuity, and understanding.
We can’t dine out without a coupon and a “buffet” or fast food specialization in the restaurant’s endorsement. We wouldn’t dare catch a movie in the theatre without a special occasion — the cost is a week’s worth of groceries and just isn’t reasonable. We spend a lot of time outdoors on “adventures” or “hunts” or at playgrounds whenever the weather is good. The kids are understanding – they no longer ask for things as we window shop in the mall (though they readily accept any offered treat as luxury).
It’s hard. We scrimp. We don’t save much. We live on paychecks and prayer.
But somehow I’m in a happy place. The kids are doing well. Our marriage, though not perfect, is sustaining. There is love here.