7:11 p.m. on 12/3/13

This evening between 6:32 p.m.and 8:19 p.m. I was catching up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in several weeks. We talked nonstop about relationships–with men, kids, friends, extended family–and about budgets–the choices we make and living within our means.

Prior to meeting up with her I was shopping with my youngest teenager. She will be participating in the next step of the Rotary Youth Exchange application process, which is a weekend-long event this coming weekend. Nice clothes are required, something other than jeans, baggy sweaters, and Vans. She will be judged (literally) from the moment she walks into the hotel on Friday evening until she leaves on Sunday afternoon. So we were shopping for dress pants, skirts, blouses, sweaters or blazers, appropriate shoes, tights, and other accessories.

As I went in to meet my friend, I got a text from Jim. Didja get Amers all decked out for this weekend? I quickly texted him back. Yes! A couple hundred dollars and two hours later.

As I visited with my friend, I checked my phone a few times, keeping an eye on the time, and making sure that my daughters didn’t need me for anything. My friend reads my blog and she knew that 7:11 was the next Moment in Time. “I wonder what we’ll be talking about at 7:11?” she asked.  “I better make sure it’s nothing too personal!”

“Oh, don’t worry. What we’re talking about won’t necessarily correlate with what I end up writing. I won’t know the significance of the moment until I sit down and write about it.”

At one point, when I looked at my phone, it was 6:51 and the screen on my phone was blank–no new texts or Facebook messages. The next 7.11time I checked, it was 7:21. 7:11 had come and gone. It would be easy enough to recall what we’d been discussing at 7:11. But when I looked at my phone that second time, at 7:21, there was a text on the screen, from Jim, a continuation of the conversation we’d been having about the shopping. I realized the text probably came in around 7:11.

Sweet! I’ve heard that raising children is expensive. I’m glad that you are making that experience PRICELESS.

(Yes, he’s a gem.)

My friend had been talking about whether she could realistically afford an upcoming trip and Jim had been commenting about the cost of raising children.

As I write this, I realize that at 7:11 p.m. on 12/3/13 I, myself, was not particularly concerned about money. I don’t want to imply that I don’t have a monthly budget to stick to (I do) or that I don’t find the cost of children overwhelming (I do). It’s just that at that moment on that day, my money issues were not on my mind. And though a budget is something I tend to daily, I do not have to worry, daily, about where the next meal is coming from or whether I can put gas in the car.

And I’ll tell you why. It’s because my ex-husband works hard and pays a respectable amount of child support. He pays it unfailingly every month and I rely on it to provide my daughters with more than the basic shelter, food, and clothing. My daughter would not have gotten the three dressy outfits she needed if it weren’t for child support. Heck, she wouldn’t even be applying to be a foreign exchange student. Nor would she be on the swim team or have taken the driver’s education course or have a smart phone with a data plan. And my other daughter? Probably no choir. No phone. No car. No weekend trip to look at colleges. And, a really scary thought–probably no college if it weren’t for her father who’s been tucking away money for her education.

Yes, our lives, especially theirs, would be quite a bit different if it weren’t for the monetary contributions made by their father.

I have a teaching career and, with 23 years experience and two advanced degrees, make a decent salary. But it would not be enough to raise the girls on, if that’s all we had.

Well, I shouldn’t say that. There are parents out there raising their kids on much less. My heart goes out to them. I know they have to make tough choices every day.

Jim implied in his text that I was ensuring that my daughters’ upbringing was priceless, that they have some opportunities to experience some things that many other kids do not. He’s right. I am. They do.

But it’s not me who’s “making that experience PRICELESS” in the literal sense. It’s their father.

Sure, I do the legwork and the running around and the organizing. I contribute the time, the energy, the love. But it’s because of him that a lot of this stuff can happen financially.

At 7:11 p.m. on 12/3/13, or around then, a kind and thoughtful text was sent to me,  a text that got me thinking about something. I am grateful, so, so grateful for the support that my girls receive from their father. He may not do things as I would, he may not be as involved in their lives as I’d like him to be, but he does support his daughters in the way that works best for him.

So this moment, 7:11 on 12/3/13, is dedicated to my friend and daughters and significant other and a father. And, of course, to PRICELESS moments.

————————————————–

A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.

To read others’ moments in time:

https://randeebergen.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/a-moment-in-time-711-p-m-on-12313/

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Billybucb
    Dec 04, 2013 @ 08:06:38

    I really enjoy this series. Well done. Single parents? Yep, been there…I raised my son on a teaching salary for fourteen years….and no, it was not easy without any other help….but we managed, and we learned to appreciate the simple things in life….and it all turned out exactly the way it was meant to be. 🙂

    Reply

    • randee
      Dec 04, 2013 @ 08:24:49

      The simple life is where it’s at. 🙂

      Thanks for your feedback on the Moment in Time. Perhaps you can break away from your typical writing duties and join in one of these times? I’d love to see what you do with it. (hint, hint)

      Reply

  2. bhoryza
    Dec 06, 2013 @ 08:50:04

    Super blog, Randee. Out of great pain can come insights that could never have been predicted.

    Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2013 14:17:52 +0000 To: beverly_horyza@live.com

    Reply

  3. warburk2013
    Dec 06, 2013 @ 17:23:43

    Enjoyed your post and your sincere acknowledgements of Dad’s contributions. And I sure hope your daughter is selected for the exchange program. Our nephew was selected by Rotary to go to Italy and it was a wonderful experience as he is a budding artist.

    Reply

  4. Trackback: 7:11 pm on 12/3/13 | Container Chronicles

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