Saturday, December 01, 2007

It can't be real

I'm sitting here in shocked silence. Physically shaking, ready to break into tears. It's not even over anything's actually because an incredible opportunity has presented itself. I'm in my normal, pessimistic (as everyone else calls it, I call it simply being a realist) can't be real. Good things don't usually come my way.

In contacting my daughter's teachers, there was one in particular who I've been waiting to hear from. He's not only her teacher, but he is in charge of organizing the class trip the kids are taking to the Florida Keys in the Spring for their marine biology study. While I was in the hospital, they sent home a letter detailing the fees, which they had broken down into two installments. The first was for nearly $540 that they are collecting before the students go on Christmas break.

We've known about this trip since she was in 8th grade. It was what ultimately made my daughter decide to apply to the gifted academy. We've also known roughly how much it would cost since last year and we've slowly been putting money aside for it. I knew it would be a bit stressful to come up with the full amount, but never considered that they would request so much so soon and certainly not right before Christmas.

So in my email to this teacher I had simply asked if we could reduce the first payment to $400 since it would be difficult to come up with $540 so close to Christmas and my daughter's birthday (didn't even mention that I just had to buy new tires, which weren't exactly cheap). I told him that we would pay the remaining balance with the second installment.

He emailed me back today offering some help. The place they are going to be doing this marine biology study at offers scholarships to schools that make their payment deadlines. He said our school has one scholarship available to us now and he's offering it to me. So instead of $540, I'll only have to pay $30 for the first installment. I'll still have to pay the second installment of $340 which covers airfare and other transportation expenses, but that's not due until late February.

It almost sounds too good to be true and yes, I'm questioning whether there really is a scholarship or if this teacher is going to find a way on his own to come up with the $510. He is the type of guy that would do something like that, especially since he knows I'm on disability. He doesn't know why I'm on it, but over the summer when we spent two days together doing a garage sale fundraiser for this trip, the question of what I do for a living came up.

I want to accept this help, but then I wonder if maybe there isn't someone else who needs it more than me. A majority of the kids in the academy do come from the "right side of the tracks" so to speak. In other words, they are from the most affluent town in our school district. We're not talking multi-millionaires, but they certainly aren't hurting for money. But there are a handful of kids from families in other towns that struggle financially. Maybe one of them needs the help more than I do.

I can hear the groans, the people saying "shut up and just graciously accept the help that is being offered". If only my mind would let me off that easily. This financial help is a blessing but it will be an immense guilt generator if I accept it. Guilt is a powerful force that I can never seem to maneuver around, it stops me dead in my tracks every time.


Blogger jON said...

then let me see if i can outmaneuver guilt, if you don't mind?

as the father of a 5 year old boy with extreme cerebral palsey, who is quadrapalegic, i know a few things about people offering you help.

it sounds as if you are like me, and would rather pass it on down the line to someone who needs it more. and you're right, there probably is someone out there who can afford it less. there always will be.

but that doesn't mean that you don't need. and if you happen to be the one in need that this amazing guy is willing to help, i say take it.

because really, you deserve it. you are worthy of this generosity. more than that, my gut feeling is that this blessing isn't really for you at all. i think it's for your daughter. to allow her this special trip, without having to feel her OWN guilt that she was a burden on her mother's finances, and just be allowed to have such a wonderful opportunity. emotionally unfettered and free.

but that's an outsiders perspective...

sorry for busting in on your world. simply felt moved to share.

2:26 AM, December 02, 2007  
Blogger Sid said...

Thank you for offering such an amazing perspective. Every time the guilt impinges on my thoughts surrounding the acceptance of this gift, I will come back here and read your comment.

12:55 PM, December 02, 2007  
Blogger Valorosa said...

How deeply loved you are.

10:58 PM, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Marie said...

I am so pleased that you caught a break here!

9:37 AM, December 06, 2007  

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