Sunday, July 26, 2009

Caught in the middle

My job was saved last December. My company went through some massive downsizing. The ironic thing is that I find myself stretching every dollar as far and wide as I can. I survived about three rounds of layoffs. I am grateful for that. What happened is that in different industries anyone who survived job layoffs took a big cut in pay to stay on. You hear and read about it everyday on all the media outlets.

I was talking to my wife about this tonight. We are one of those American families who are caught in the middle. We are breaking even. We don't qualify for any financial assistance because we make too much. Gone are the days of the disposable income. So we are caught in the middle inside today's America. Too rich to be poor. Yet too poor to be rich. Sounds like a country western song.

About a year ago things were very comfortable. Living the life of luxury I'm sure like many of you did before all the bailouts started to occur. Right now I worry if my kids are getting enough to eat. I worry if I have enough food in the refrigerator. I worry if I have enough food in the pantry. I work hard. I am a good employee. My wife works hard. We do without a lot of things. I do without a lot of things.

My kids have had to do without a lot of things that other kids might have. They have always had hand me down clothes since I have a lot of nieces. There is nothing wrong with that. This summer we found a cheap volleyball camp for my daughter that was a month long. She was happy about that. What hurts is that you see some of these backyards that have not only a large trampoline but they also have a nice looking wooden swing set. I wonder how some of these people afford this stuff. My little ones ask me when they can have one of those. I don't have an answer for them. My little ones ask me when we can go on vacation. I don't have an answer for them.

Daddy does not know when he will be able to afford a lot of things. I just hope and pray that we have no major mechanical problems with one of the cars or a major a medical expense. People caught in the middle are just breaking even. People talk about how different generations are supposed to be doing better than the generation before them. I don't believe this is the case with a lot of families. These are different times.

A job is suppose to give us a safety net. A job is suppose to give us comfort. A job is supposed to give us hope. I wonder how a lot of families like us caught in the middle are supposed to send their kids to college. I have no idea.

What is sad is that my older daughter realizes that we cannot do a lot of things that her cousins do. Like the trooper that she is she helps us by explaining to my little ones that they have to sit tight. She tells them to hold on. She is right. I expect things to rebound. We cannot put them in YMCA or in different camps. That is not possible. We are rich when it comes to giving them plenty of love. We are a close family. We are fortunate that everyone is in the A-B honor roll. We agree that an education is important. Maybe they can get a scholarship and keep pursing their education like their parents.

We are blessed in so many ways. The girls love their parents. They are smart. They listen. The little ones don't necessarily know the difference about being rich or poor. My heart breaks for my older daughters who know this has to do with the economy. I think my faith and my prayers keep me going. For some reason someone up above has always watched over my family. One day I will give my kids that trip to Disneyland that they so deserve. I will give them that trampoline and swing set that they deserve. I will give my wife that trip to Vegas or to Mexico that she so deserves. I am determined.

Are you caught in the middle?

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