Wednesday, September 21, 2011


For the past two weeks, I have been doing something that I myself, find extremely rude, and inconsiderate. I received an invitation to a family event on Long Island. A party at a restaurant in celebration of a wonderful event. Instead of RSVP'ing right away, I sat on it.

I waited to make the call. I wanted so badly to attend. I have not seen some of this side of the family in a while. And the last time that was, we were at a funeral. I so wanted to attend a happy gathering. Not one marked with sadness.

I wasn't sure what our money situation was going to be. We had a stack of bills to pay on payday, and every red cent after that is so tightly budgeted, I know it was silly of me to be hopeful, but I was. I somehow thought that we would be able to attend.

But, we can't. We can't because we account for every dollar and cent so carefully, that filling the car with gas two times in a day, and paying for tolls pushes us over the edge. A simple family gathering is not possible for us, because we can't afford it. If we go, then we don't eat next week. That simple.

Most days, I am OK with how we live. Some weeks, after careful food shopping, and meal planning, and diaper purchases are made, we make it to payday. Some weeks, we literally have sixty cents left in the bank. Other weeks, I am sneaking into the girls rooms, and removing dollar bills from their piggy banks, feeling like a thief. But, we always make it. Yet, there is never any wiggle room.

I am not talking about wiggle room that would entertain us. Or take us on a vacation, or out to dinner. That is completely off the table.I don't care about that. I am talking about just having enough extra to not have a panic attack over going to the gas station. Enough extra to not feel like we are doing something wrong by just wanting to get together with family, and celebrate.

I finally called and RSVP'd. I had to give some song and dance of an excuse why we wouldn't be attending. I had to apologize for how late I was calling. I guess I thought maybe there would be some way to swing it, if I just waited a little bit longer. I could hear my cousins voice. He sounded like he didn't buy my excuse.

I didn't buy it either.

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