“Welcome to the NFL, Rookie,” Matt said.
WTF?! I had no idea what he meant. But before I explain the context of this tough-love advice, let’s backtrack.
That week I had downloaded Dave Ramsey’s financial advice, talked to several friends, and had finally created a reasonable budget that would put me back on track–ahead even-post-divorce and post-house.
Then…the shit hit the fan, or rather the toilet tank.
“Mom! The toilet’s not flushing again and I just went #2!!!”
“Mom! The garbage disposal’s not working!!! I think something’s jammed down there!”
Never mind that Lance’s travel soccer down payment was a car payment, yet we still had to dish out his uniform expenses and team dues soon. Never mind that our laptop recently broke. Never mind that both of my kids have outgrown all of their hand-me-downs. Never mind that I bust my ass during the year to ensure my kids are “normal” and “well-adjusted” by taking them to therapy and allowing them to play team sports. Nevermind that I tutor during the summer for extra income. Never mind that I already had to replace my hot water heater and get my sprinkler system fixed.
(Do you hear the world’s smallest violin playing?)
But such is life, right? Like I say, que sera sera. People have WAY more traumatic experiences than my own. Why was I being such a baby?! Somebody call a wahhhh-bulance.
So when I melted down on Monday afternoon (four-letter-words involved, sorry), and called Matt; he was sympathetic and receptive. He came over. He gave me a much-needed hug and a box of Junior Mints. He made me feel better. He also gave me something I needed to hear. He quoted Paulie Walnuts in “The Sopranos” by saying, “Welcome to the NFL, Rookie.”
At first, I was dumbstruck. What?! Where’s my pity party? Where’s my knight in shining armor? I wanted to be coddled. I wanted somebody else to worry about it and to fix it. I wanted some Kleenex. (My mascara’s been running all day!)
Yet again: I was confronted with wants versus needs. While I may have wanted those things, I didn’t need them. What I needed was that hug from Matt. What I needed was his arrival and support and his “take-a-look-see” at the disposal. And I needed those Junior Mints…badly.
I also needed to gain some composure and pull myself together.
Where was my integrity? Where was my strength? Where was my MOJO? C’mon, Meg. Pull yourself together for crying out loud. You’re a woman in the 21st century. Don’t rely on a man. Fix your shit yourself. (Those were my mom’s words in my head, btw.)
“Welcome to the NFL, Rookie.”
I was in the in big time now. The training wheels had to come off. Wipe my eyes. Fix my mascara and then fix my shit.
I could do this.
Step 1: Send the kids outside. I needed a break. Forget that I WANTED to be the best mom this summer, always and forever. #KODAKMoments. This was real life. I NEEDED a break aka quiet time.
Step 2: Assess the situation. Learned how to fix my own toilet with one, red paper clip. #Meg-Guyver. Yet didn’t learn how to fix my disposal, and since I kind of enjoy having two hands, figured I’d better call a plumber-Norm–cuz he knows my name. (Get it?!)
Step 3: Pay said plumber $100 for 5 minutes worth of work. That was what I earned tutoring two hours the day before. Enough said.
Step 4: “Spread out my fun,” as my mom used to say. Mady needed new clothes and soon. So I gave her a budget of $140 and had her surf Thred Up. She loved it. And we saved $50 off our first order using promo code THRIFTY40.
Her laptop will be a birthday present in August ($140 cheaper at MicroCentre than Amazon).
Lance’s soccer stuff was ordered first–divided between Eric and myself. The dues will have to wait until next month.
“Fun” spread out. Patience is a virtue and a skill that needs practice.
(*Nice side note: stuff like this makes life more meaningful. The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith.)
Step 5: Eat a lot of cereal and leftovers. Just add wine.
So there you have it. I survived it. It wasn’t a physical tsunami, just an emotional one.
And Matt was right.
If I’m going to play in the big leagues, I need to toughen up. I don’t want to stay a rookie forever.
Welcome to the NFL–where these “problems” are Not For Long.