Creative Writing Day #19 – Parents

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credit

I was born on credit, a payment plan.

I assume it was cold and snowy.  It had to be, it was December.

My mother was at home alone; my father out a bar toasting the holidays.

My mother was having back pains.  She didn’t realize it was labor.  (Incidentally, that is a lot like what this last miscarriage felt like.) I wasn’t expected for another week or two.

It was a time before cell phones, car phones, and even beepers.

She didn’t call anyone.  She sat there and waited until he got home at 2 in the morning, in full-on labor.

I can imagine how the discussion went.  Him asking why she was up.  Her trying to deny there was anything wrong.  Him having to push her to go to the hospital.  I have heard similar conversations a zillion times since then.

I arrived the next morning, at 10:58 am, at a hospital that no longer exists.  It was Christmas Eve.

As soon as my mother pushed me out, she ran into the hall for a cigarette. True story.  It really has no point in this version of the story – I just simply find it amusing.

My father had presented his insurance card upon arrival, knowing it was no good.  His current employer hadn’t paid the bill.  Not really his fault, but…

The hospital administration called him in to notify him he had no insurance, as to which he replied, “do you have a payment plan?”

That’s how I was raised.  On credit.  On payment plans.  I could have pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

When I started to have to take care of myself, I still thought I could have whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  That is so not the case.  And likely so growing up, my parents probably couldn’t always afford the stuff they got us.  I remember my mother told me that when they put the in ground pool in, they didn’t have money to make payroll.

It’s not a good way to live.

Oh, not the generous part.  I truly believe in being very generous to anyone -whether it’s big or small, money or time.  I believe people in my life deserve 100% of my attention when I am with them, and when they need me, I will always be there in any way I can.  I would give you the very last dollar I had if you just asked for it.  Not a lot of people would do that – I am actually quite proud of the fact I would do that.

But living on credit and payments plans is no way to live.

So, I don’t anymore.  Other than my regular installment payments – house, car, insurance, utilities, etc. – I don’t use credit, except for an emergency or if a store card offers me some sort of bonus – and then I pay it off.

That’s made this last year tough, but I managed it.  And I am proud of myself for that.

I may have came into the world on credit, and spent more years of my life raised on credit, I will not go out of this life on credit – or on a payment plan.

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