Nutshell view: My dad visits my sister, who only recently became the slightly-more-favored daughter (which means he visits once a year or so instead of never). He asks her if I have “gone back home” yet, meaning have I reconciled with my husband and conveniently ignoring the fact that I am, in fact, in my home with my four kids.
To her response that no, we haven’t reconciled and she really doesn’t know any details, he replies, “Well, she better be considering how she’s going to pay her bills.” This is Typical Dad.
Second question: am I working? (Ooh, you know this isn’t going to go well.) Well, replies Loyal Sis–no doubt cringing internally–yes, she is working. She delivers newspapers.
Hooboy! Daddy does NOT like this news. He takes the opportunity to mention that I have a [insert creative swearing] degree in education for God’s sake! I am wasting my [cs] time!
Now, let us forget for a moment that had he spoken to me in the last 15 months, he would know what’s going on in my life. He might have an inkling that my separation from my husband involves a little more than flightiness on my part. Let us also forget that the only reason he accepted my Korean-American husband in the first place was because I was already “saddled” with two children, and he didn’t figure anyone else would “have me.” And let us not even go into the whole issue of parents who subtly devalue girls simply because they are…well, girls.
Let us, instead, focus on the two things he is most concerned about. Or one, as it may be, since essentially, it all boils down to the cash:
First of all, I don’t have many bills. A big-assed ol’ house payment, maybe a hundred or so in other bills, utilities, groceries. That’s it. Considering that I know a hell of a lot of people–my father included–who have amassed huge credit card debt and gone into bankruptcy, I feel okay about where I am financially. I’ve done the math–even if my husband and I divorce, the kids and I will get by okay.
Second: Newsflash. I did not “waste” my degree. I got my degree–which, incidentally, I paid for myself–and I taught for TEN YEARS. Even if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t consider any education wasted. As far as my job, all I can say is it sure as hell beats working at WalMart. Perfect hours, no need for daycare, and you know what? Pretty darn good money, all things considered. Basically, twice minimum wage or so. So, as part-time jobs go–and part time is what I want right now, at least until the babies are in school–it’s pretty darn good.
So there you have it: a mild fuss, a bit of self-justification, and a tad of “doggonit, people like you” thrown in for good measure. Just needed to write it all down.