Untraditional Family Matters.
Auntie:”So, do you want to go to daycare or come with me today?”
April:”Come with you” (said before I can finish my sentence).
Auntie:”Why do you want to come with me so much? We’re not going to do anything fun. Do you like me or something?”
April:”Yes, I like you. I love you, but I like you, too”.
Lots of people ask me why I live my life currently the way that I do. I share a home with my sister and my nieces. I pay a majority of the bills and make my family comfortable in life with my income even though I am not a parent and really have no obligation to do this. A lot of people say, “You need to get out of that, Joanna. You don’t have to do that.” I know I don’t have to do that, but I don’t want to see my nieces live a life where they have to do without a lot of things when I know I can make that difference for their lives, their childhoods, even their relationship with their mother can be less stressed and more fun because that level of comfort is there. The monetary difference I make in their lives means that they have reliable transportation, shoes and clothes that fit and aren’t falling apart, toys, arts, crafts, enriching activities (like ballet classes for April), and general wellbeing that their basic needs will be met (not thinking about the utilities, being fed, being warm, etc.) I know that if I were not in their lives in this financial way, they would have to worry about these things, and I just have a strong opposition to children being worried about adult things. Aside from money, I help raise them. I set rules, reward systems, expectations, and consequences. I take the stress off their mother intermittently and help with the discipline and routine “mom” expectations of daily life. We both have full time jobs.
Yes, I could spend my time, money, and energy differently. But what they give me is far greater from my perspective than what I give them. I have purpose. I have direction. I know what’s important. I don’t have to wonder, or search for the answer to that question. I have always felt the most rewarding thing you can do is make a difference in a child’s life. If that child, those children, are my nieces, how much greater is the reward? So, I won’t scoff or complain because I don’t have a $300 dollar purse or a closet full of brand new perfect shoes or a brand new car with ridiculously high interest and payments. And when people ask me what I get out of it, I’ll tell them, “She likes me. She loves me, but she likes me, too”. And whoever doesn’t get it, probably never will.
Published in: Family