Monday, April 06, 2009

object lessons

When I left my university job a year ago, I explained to Banana that I was going to be making more money but that would mean I would have less time off. I wanted her to understand that we would lose a certain amount of freedom in the short-term. Over the past year, the realization of what this means has come home in fits and starts — less flexibility for me to come to school, more scheduling demands, that sort of thing. But it didn't really hit home for her, I think, until this week.

Spring Break.

Anyone who's been around us in recent years knows that this means a trip back to New York. This year, a variety of competing financial demands have reduced the slush fund I'd ordinarily use for the trip. And when I realized that taking a big chunk of time off would cut into trips to Maine this summer and other time-off needs, I decided to cancel our plans. Since Banana was already less thrilled about the trip this year, the decision was an easy one to explain.

Until last night.

That's when she realized that a good chunk of her Spring Break — the week when some of her friends are headed to the Grand Canyon, California, Paris, and the British Virgin Islands — would be spent at the YMCA without some of her better friends. This was not a happy realization, particularly after a long, tiring day. I tried to explain it from the standpoint that we'd be able to do other fun stuff, but she wasn't having it at that point. In the end, I patiently listened to what bothered her about the YMCA and talked to her about what we could do to make the best of the time anyway. I also promised a fun Spring Break next year.

I hope I can make good on that promise. Doing so may require some compromise with Banana Mère. Either way, it's an object lesson for both of us in what making choices means: for each gain there may also be a trade-off.