Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stand By Your Man

What would I do if my husband frequently expressed concern about how our children were going to turn out? At first, I’d probably really start to wonder what he thought of my mothering skills and at some point I’d most likely burst into tears.

Yet, how often do I fret about money and our future? How often do I ask him about things pertaining to his work with more than a hint of uncertainty in my voice?

Last night we were having one of those fun money talks every couple loves (you know, there's not enough of the green stuff to go around, that sort of thing) and I started expressing worries about our finances and our fiscal future. This isn’t something new. I’ve always worried about money. From the moment I landed my first job in high school, I’ve always saved more than I’ve spent. I don’t just save for a rainy day. I save for a wintry day, an overcast day and even a sunny day. Sometimes I save so much I forget about that little thing known as living. When I do splurge on something other than groceries, I feel terribly guilty. (Sometimes I feel guilty about my grocery bill, although I meal plan, coupon clip and make every effort to stick to a food budget.) I even hoard gift cards. C’mon. They’re gift cards. You're supposed to use them before they expire, lose their value or are simply forgotten.

In fact, I’d just recently used a gift card I’ve had since Christmas for an extremely frivolous pair of blue pumps with towering heels - not exactly stay-at-home-mom-rarely-go-out-to-anywhere-other-than-the-grocery-store-or-the-park-kind-of-shoes. I had to spend a little bit over the value of the card and when Dave brought up the topic of money, I started feeling really guilty. The guilt led to excessive worrying. The excessive worrying led to tears (from me, not the hubby). The deluge led to my questioning my husband and his financial decisions.

That’s when he said calmly with no hint of anger or resentment, “Kate, don’t worry. I’m going to take care of us. I’m going to take care of you. Just trust me.”

Shame on me for ever doubting my hard-working husband. Shame on me for complaining about financial woes when there's definitely light at the end of the tunnel (as in the end of residency). Shame on me for even suggesting we're penniless when we have absolutely no idea what it means to be poor. (I know I'm very well off compared to most of society, but is anyone in America – the country where according to Nielsen Media Research, 99 percent of the households have at least one television – really poor? One of my best friends and Madeline’s godmother who just returned from her second stint volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity in India would argue that, no, we Americans are spoiled and we don’t have any idea what it means to be truly poor, to have maggots burrowing in your scalp, to be surrounded by widespread starvation.)

“I’m going to take care of you,” my husband of almost six years says. And he will. "Just trust me," he says. And I should and I will.

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