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Bribing the Kids

by Jay on November 3, 2009

(Occasionally I ask my friend Alberta to deal with the non-technical real estate questions where she brings some wisdom and experience that I don’t have.)

Alberta,  My husband has gotten a great job in a city about 150 miles from here. It’s a fantastic opportunity for him and I’m a nurse and shouldn’t have any trouble finding a good job there too. The problem is our girls. One is in the 11th grade and one is in the 9th grade. They’re devastated. They don’t want to leave lifelong friends they’ve played soccer with and gone to school with. The older one has her first boyfriend and thinks her life is over. My husband is ready to pick out a house. I convinced him to let the girls take a look at the choices. Of course, their favorite was one we could barely afford. In fact, it will wipe out most of the financial benefit of moving, at least in the short term. It’s a nice house but more than we need. What a mess. Do you have any suggestions for how to handle this?

I’m sorry, Sweetie, but I don’t have much sympathy for you.  Believe me I understand a mother’s need to do the best thing for her children.  But who’s the adult here anyway?  I remember when I first met Ava, my daughter Crystal’s husband Chunky’s great aunt.  Ava was a young girl when Hilter was rounding up Jew’s in Poland.  They fled in the middle of the night with the clothes on their backs and lived in a basement for months before they came here with nothing. Ava got through it and raised a lovely family. Most of the relatives that didn’t want to risk the journey disappeared forever.lonelyroad

I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do and you really can’t tell how things are going to work out. Your situation is not that drastic of course and it’s wonderful that you can even consider buying a really nice home to bribe your girls. But I’m not sure you’re doing them a favor by bribing them with more house than you need. Of course, it’s a bitch when they have to leave their friends, especially at that age when they are starting to look at boys as something more than dopes.  But,  let’s face it, life’s a bitch and we’re better off if we learn early how to deal with it.

When we first moved here, Crystal was in the 10th grade and didn’t want to move. Her stepfather, Ira, was pretty tough on her and I was beginning to think marrying him was a mistake.  But one day when she came home from school she was crying and telling Ira she was lonesome and that the school sucked and they even let kids out with excused absences to pull the suckers off tobacco plants, whatever that means.

Ira sat her down and put his arm around her and told her that if she opened her eyes at school and looked around she could probably find somebody that was even more lonesome than she was and that she could make both of them feel better by being her friend.  Between her sobs I could see she was thinking about it and instead of being mad at Ira I started tearing up myself.

Well Crystal found Tina who became her best friend and since she’s Chunky’s sister she’s now her sister-in-law and we all love them both.

It’s none of my business, but since you asked I’m telling you…buy a home or rent (Sorry Mr. Z) that you can afford and makes sense. There won’t be any long term damage to the girls if they feel a little bit of pain because of the move. They have each other and a loving family to help them through.

Good luck, dear. In this kind of economy none of us need to be overextending ourselves or passing up good jobs…and that’s a good lesson for the girls too.  Ava would agree.


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