At about 9:00 p.m. this evening, my husband walked in as Ellie and Henry were running around wildly. Molly was snoring on the couch. He had the opened mail in one hand, and as he walked into the kitchen, he said, “Molly is waitlisted for kindergarten and we owe thousands of dollars in taxes.” (Amount has been edited out to appease my husband.)
Well, hello there. Oh, and yes, it’s Monday.
On my bulletin board above my “desk” (the slab of kitchen counter I call my office), I have a note that says “write about preschool and money!!!!!!” (Yes, I use that many exclamation points when writing notes to myself.) Recently we decided we would not, could not send Ellie and Henry to the same (awesome) private preschool that Molly has attended for two years. The tuition is just too expensive for us now that we have our (more awesome) nanny back full-time, and let’s face it, good God, there are TWO of them!
Manhattan schools are crazy money. We only applied to one private school for Molly’s kindergarten and that was sort of on a whim (tuition is 40 grand). We are counting on this public school thing working out. Molly has gotten some educational perks that her brother and sister haven’t gotten and won’t get. (Don’t tell them, okay?) That’s the fact of our dynamic as a family of five in New York City (and we all know that I am not leaving my city again!).
We love our preschool community. Seriously–they are our friends, and it embarrassed me as well as made me really, really sad to have to tell the director we wouldn’t be sending the twins in the fall. I am still cringe-y about it. Along with the deep disappointment, it stripped away a layer of self-preservation to admit to having “not enough.” Finances are an odd thing to discuss openly, and it turns out I am not so good with that.
The husband and I have had some painful discussions about budgets (ours) and spending (mine). It turns out he knew about my secret love. And I had to end things.
So the past week or so I have been feeling a little proud. I’ve been sticking to my promise to not indulge myself in things I cannot afford and do not need at the moment (really, don’t feel too bad for me, I do not need a thing). I’ve faced this disturbing fact about myself: I shop for distraction from my real problems. And it didn’t kill me.
I am not devastated at the options the twins will have this year–they are turning three. They are awesome and loved and have each other to practice sharing with. There must be a reasonably priced music or art class they can take locally. And I will try to talk to them more.
Hey, it turns out I am actually good at this saving money thing!
And then our tax bill. Once the kids were in bed, we sat on the couch, with the basketball game on the television across the room.
“Well,” I said.
“Well,” my husband said.
“No vacation this summer?”
I’m a little worried. Not about vacations. There are things we haven’t talked about yet; I imagine we will. That we’ll have to. So this is life. The constant movements between joy and panic, relief and disappointment. Ours have been measured out in what seem like fair amounts so far. I have been surprised before by the hidden graces that often accompany honest fear. And I am about to fill my glass to the top.