“You can’t eat pride sandwiches!” I swear I’ve heard this more than I’d like over the years. I’ve never been someone who has had much money to speak of, but I’ve always been more than resourceful enough to keep myself alive and well. I never asked people for money or help as I believed I could do everything on my own. In fact, I abhorred the very notion that I could not take care of myself and would therefore go out of my way to avoid asking for help. Even if that meant I was placed in less than ideal situations. That however, went out the window the second I became the legal guardian of my 13 and 11 year old brothers.
Last June, we lost our mother to bile duct cancer. In order to reduce the number of losses and changes in their life, I decided to take custody of them. Life however has taught us that boring is a good term this year. While most months we get by without a problem, there was an issue early on that needed to be taken care of. We needed a place to live where I could put my name on the lease. I had broken my lease the year prior when our mom had called me to ask for help taking care of her and the boys while she was ill with cancer. I don’t regret my choice, but it did come with the consequence that most renters would not look at me for more than a second before laughing at the idea of renting out to me. A couple times literally. Fortunately, towards the end of November, we got lucky and found a bigger house with a yard for a lot cheaper.
Our new landlord went above and beyond for us to make sure we moved into this new place and we could not be more appreciative. That said, the day we began our move, everything went wrong. The first issue came when my car decided that it had had enough two hours into the move. The repairs were later found to be too much for me to handle financially and I gave it up. We ended up moving almost exclusively without help as the timing of the move came at the worst time as most possible help either had work or final exams in college. But I believed I had the money at the time to be fine. I knew how much I made each month as it is a consistent monthly paycheck. So after a couple weeks of searching for a vehicle and resetting my bills to the new place, I calculated that December would be tight for us, but very easily handled. That is until I received my monthly pay and saw it was $800 dollars less than normal and about $600 dollars less than what I needed to cover all of my bills alone. (This was not including groceries).
After a brief panic attack, I began doing something that I had never done before. Ask for help. It’s times like these that show you how much help and kindness is out there. Truly. People who I hadn’t talked to in months came out to help the boys and I get by during this time. Heck, even my dad who had not been around for years (my brothers had a different father who has been dead for decade officially now) offered to help. I also learned here that it was important to learn the difference between a want and need as I was forced to sell my person WiiU to make up the last couple hundred dollars.
All that said, I can never truly begin to thank those who stepped up in our time of need. And really, the boys deserve some appreciation as well as they were extremely helpful around the house during this time and did their part in trying to make things better. Months later, and we have added a rescue dog to the mix and are headed into our second year together. The big conversation has actually come from starting to make payments to buy our house from our landlord. I’m excited that this year appears to be a little more boring with less problems popping up in our lives. But I have learned that if I’m in trouble, there are people that are willing to help. I just need to know that it’s ok to ask.
Thank you John for sharing your sibs raising sibs experience.