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Anything is Possible if you Dare to Dream

September 28, 2008

Shedding Layers . . .

A comment this evening made me realize that I have been doing this for some time now. Metaphorically and physically shedding layers to simplify my life.

In one way or another, we are all being forced to shed our excess layers and return to a time when keeping up with the Joneses meant white washing our picket fences and tending our lawns, rather than driving the biggest SUV, owning the newest HD TV and getting the hottest toy for Christmas.

Honestly, I gave those excesses up years ago. We stop buying new cars, taking expensive vacations and wearing designer clothes to keep our kids in private school. We stopped shopping at the malls, boutiques and even the local grocery stores in favor of wholesale clubs and deep discount retailers. We stopped using credit cards and started using cash or direct debit and we still can't survive in the current economy.

So now we're facing the stress and pain of shedding the tougher, deeper layers. Giving up our dream of finishing our basement in the next couple of years didn't really hurt as much as I thought, but coming to the conclusion that our special needs son will have to leave his private school and start attending the local public school really bites.

We want the best for both of our special needs children and we love the school he attends, but we simply cannot afford his private school and necessary supplemental tutoring. It's really simple. That money can help pay bills, until the economy turns around and we can start to rebuild our savings.

I know I have no right to complain, because we are far better off than most, but it's always a struggle to make the right decisions in the face of our children's special needs. We nearly choked when we had to put our daughter's social skills class tuition on a credit card and now we're having to pay for our son's tutoring, our medical co-pays and our prescriptions the same way.

We've been fighting for our autistic daughter's rights in the public school system for three years now and she is making slow, but steady progress. We kept our son in private school, because we did not have the energy to fight for two children at the same time. Now we're going to have to find the strength to do so.

I'm praying that, in the long run, we're making the right decision, because we have no choice.I'm also praying that the economy turns around soon, because this is the last big layer that we have to lose.