Being the parent of an active teenager means managing transportation to and from the many activities they are involved in. In my case, it is football conditioning and skills training camps which all seem to be located nowhere near home and all occur in the middle of the day. Thankfully, there are a couple of other parents who are willing to ride share and, one in particular, who has gone over and above during the summer.
I try not be resentful when my coworkers are going out to lunch and I am doing my hour of shuttling. As my late husband used to say, “You wanted kids, Julie, so deal with it.” The real message is more one of my decision to send my son to private school (which is not within walking distance of the home) requires me to make sacrifices personally to make it work. It’s not easy though – especially being a single, working, parent.
All week, the family that has taken on the majority of the driving has been away on vacation. The other teammates of YaYa’s are either injured or out of town at a basketball tournament. I’ve managed all week but today’s work schedule is unforgiving. I am forced to call upon a woman who I’ve paid in the past for dog care and rides to tutoring.
The last interaction left a sour taste in my mouth for reasons I could not put my finger on. I needed a ride to tutoring and home (a total of 8 miles roundtrip). Different from prior interactions where I hand over the amount of money I feel appropriate – plus a little more because she has been out of work for many years and I want to help out. This past time, she named the price upfront. And although it was exactly what I’d planned to give her, it just felt wrong. So much so that the following two times I needed dog care, I called on a neighbor instead – who told me that I was over paying her and insisted that I keep $10 per day.
Since I was only able to get YaYa to practice, but not home due to a meeting, a huge part of me wanted to have YaYa miss today’s practice. Instead, I swallowed my pride and sent a message to the woman I’d been avoiding. I told her my request and asked her how much she needed me to pay for it. After she named the price, I took a deep breath and thanked her. YaYa immediately felt bad but I told him it was fine. Then I went outside to think about the whole thing.
I guess I’ve always felt like I was helping her out by saving these jobs for her instead of the people who I’d gone to in the past. It seems that at some point she realized that the scenario was quite the opposite: I needed her just as much as she needed me. I don’t think I was ready to admit it before but it’s true, I cannot do it alone. I need help, and if I need to pay for it than I guess that’s just how it goes. Feeling humbled.