Another of my chief childhood grievances is the household budget. Please take a moment to laugh at my irrational sense of entitlement and the random-ass things I choose to feel entitled too.
April 18, 1994 – I can’t believe it. My mom said no. I had this big ball planned out, but Mom spoiled it. It would have been so perfect.
Yes, that’s a ball, as in the kind of social function that ugly stepsisters and plucky heroines are invited to attend at the home of eligible bachelors. A ball. As in, where the awkward tomboy protagonist with limited means is transformed into a breathtaking swan and wins a suitor. A ball. As in, I wanted elbow length gloves and a dance card and a magical kiss at midnight.
I somehow envisioned that my 10-year-old self would have been able to plan and execute a full Victorian-era ball, and that the cost of such an event should be within my parents’ budget for “Bekah’s social upkeep.”
In this case, my mom’s refusal is not only rational, but kept me from a miserable reckoning of reality (gangly/chubby 4th graders in elbow-length gloves) and fantasy (something along the lines of Kate Middleton’s life).
June 6, 1993-Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I guess I’ll just eat worms! My mother won’t get me anything. Not even the money to buy two trolls (one of which would help me in a major area). She probably won’t care if I die.
Yes. Treasure trolls. That is the invaluable worldly good on which I was staking my mother’s love. I’m not sure what “major area” would be helped by a Treasure Troll, but I’m assuming it had something to do with true love or millions of dollars as those were the two things that seemed to elude me throughout the 4th grade.
My monied aspirations continued to be thwarted into middle school. Looking back, it’s hard to tell if we were really living on the edge of poverty, or if my parents were just flagging under my relentless champagne badgering.
Feb 3, 1994- Oh Dear! I think we’re getting poor. Mom is taking relating class [sic: Real estate licensing]. Which means she has to work. She talked about if she had to, selling the Suburban. “Dear Gracious heavenly Father, So much has already been taken from us. But why?!? I know poor people can be looked down on, but why Lord? Our family is dying and getting seriously sick. Lord, at a time when money is TIGHT, you make it go away faster. Do I have to give up on my dream of money being plentiful? LORD, IT’S NOT FAIR! I love you. WHY?!? Amen.”
The prayer portion of that entry is in quotes because it was taken directly from the Book of Common Prayer.
When I started playing sports, I was convinced that my parents’ thriftiness was a sign that they were not taking me seriously as an athlete. This particular episode has been abridged, as it went on for many, many pages.
Also, maybe the best thing about my first year playing soccer was my budding sports vocabulary. I channeled my love of metaphor and euphemism into trash talking and sports reporting. With the exception of my proto-erotic longings, these are by far my most embarrassing entries.
September 15, 1995 – Today we had a soccer game against the Terminators. We WON 4-0. We rubbed them into the field. I played left and right defense and goalie. I did pretty good (not to be conceited). Our top five players are probably Carol, Leslie, Brandy, Julie, and Leeanna. But all of us kick butt hard man…
…But there was one thing. They were checking our shoes and of course mine were BASEBALL shoes. I wanted to cry. See my parents got hand-me-downs from my cousin (who plays baseball). So my dad goes, “Well, I’ll fix ‘em. I’ll just cut the extra things off.” GOD they don’t know how it feels …I am sick and tired of wearing other people’s clothes. Why can’t they just understand! From a sister or a girl cousin it’s okay but the cleats were from a boy cousin. I hate these shoes. I want to BURN them so they’ll HAVE to buy me new ones…She got ANNIKA new soccer shoes for her first year. My shin pads are hand-me-downs too. Not Annika. I guess it’s because they see more promise and potential in her. Well, I’m gonna have all of them licking the dirt off my new cleats if they’re lucky. If not, well uh, they won’t be the happiest people on earth let me leave it at that.
I’m not sure if I was trying to sound ominous, or if I was really too mad to think of something worse than licking the dirt off my new cleats.
This particular episode not only illustrates my weird money hangups, but another budding insecurity. Athleticism. Even after four years of soccer, three years of varsity cheerleading, and four years of varsity softball, my identity as a sedentary butterball lived on.
I had just finished my first marathon at age 25, and over lunch my dad reflected on my accomplishment.
“Who would have thought that of all the kids, you’d be the adult athlete?” he said, beaming. (My dad won the Golden Gloves at age 30.)
Eleven-year-old Bekah would have guessed, Dad. Now start licking those soccer cleats. I still haven’t thought of another consequence.