My daughter (and “Muffin”). In her first big-girl bed.
You read here a while, you know my girl a bit. She’s tough yet sweet. She’s kind and smart. Despite having so much love and attention lavished upon her – in fact in some ways our whole world has revolved around her and her little brother – and despite growing up with some intense family dysfunction here and there – she is not “spoiled”. She does not have behavior problems. She is a goddamned peach. And I am not just saying that. I could provide you character references and all.
So she tells me the other day she wants a bed. It’s the same as two and a half years ago when she says she wants to change her name. She means it. It’s important to her. She’s not whining. She’s advocating. She’ll be fine if it doesn’t happen. But she’s determined.
I’m going to make it happen, if I can.
Errands take longer than expected and the afternoon is winding down and it’s raining like fuck-all and I want to get home. I’m tired and my tummy is giving me some grief. But I’m going to be honest, I realize I am prepared to shit my pants, hey if only a little, to make sure I do what I said I’d do for my girl, who knows exactly what she’s asking for, financially, when she asks for this bed. We pull up to the local furniture shop and I send the little guy walking home, because I know he would be climbing all over the furniture in his big-ass Romeos and being all riled up and I am going to have to focus a little, plus give the appearance of respectability. LOL.
My daughter & I try out beds, led through the process. “I can feel the springs on this one,” Phoenix says politely after laying on the bargain-basement cheapest model. The employee leads us to a pillowtop that costs a bit more. My girl is very happy with it. It’s still on the low-end but she doesn’t ask for something else, she’s just fine. My eyes sting a little. She is a thousand percent more sensible, gracious, and tactful than I was at her age. Or maybe than I am today.
We ride the really cool old elevator back to the ground floor and I fill out the financing paperwork. I act like an upscale person and all. I make polite conversation with the employee. Then about ten minutes into the transaction I remember than when it comes to spending hundreds of dollars, shops like this usually have someone hired to flatter you and this is no exception. My daughter and I tangle up on a huge oversized chair called, appropriately, “The Snuggler”. I tell my daughter, “It might not work out today.” She asks why and I explain a little bit about bank wizardry and let her know if it doesn’t happen today, we’ll figure something out soon.
“There was no problem, of course,” the financing woman says as she hands me the finished paperwork for the bed and pretends she didn’t notice my sweaty upper lip, I mean COME ON I have no idea how these credit things work! She talks to a few more people and we wait to get the final paperwork packet.
I feel oddly like crying.
This is what sobriety has brought me. Many people who read here aren’t going to understand. It isn’t about having more financial freedom, or nicer things, or more material security, or a credit line. It isn’t even about being able to make some plans knowing we can pay bills. It isn’t even about being Present enough to know hell, we could lose the whole house in a fire tomorrow, so let’s be grateful for what we have today. It isn’t even about getting along with my husband enough to know this expenditure isn’t going to be a tension between us. I mean it involves all of that stuff, don’t get me wrong. But about so much more too.
It’s about being able to afford my daughter a private life when she wants it. It’s about doing what I said I’m gonna do instead of making a lot of promises and wishes and deferrals. It’s about living life in a way, when my kids ask for something they’re asking for something they really need, and when we give it to them, or don’t, there’s no guilt or remorse or anxiety. It’s about knowing without a doubt that I’m respected by my children. It’s about being grateful for a bed, but not spinning my head about all the other plans I have or am going to make. It’s about being able to live in the day.
It’s such a different way to live it’s hard to describe.
It’s about my daughter coming in today after being at her grandma’s, and after the bed had been delivered and set up, and saying, “It’s gorgeous!” – then making up a sign for her room. “There’s no LOCK, so please KNOCK.”
And it’s about me dusting off my hands and washing the dishes.