I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Friday, September 21, 2012


I got a phone call today from SSOTH, asking me if it was okay if they nominated our family to receive a grant to help with the kids' school fees.

I (temporarily) said no. Yup. I said NO to help with my kids' school fees.

Stupid, right? Let me explain my logic here.

Mind you, they were not offering anything other than the nomination - the foundation itself makes the final decision - so there was no guarantee of anything.  At first I was a little befuddled - "you're asking me for permission to help me pay the fees? Are you serious?" My next question was, "But why US? What makes us so special? Why are we so deserving?"

"Well," she said, "You've got the three of them all at once!"

To which I replied, "Well, if that's the basis of your decision, I think I'd rather you gave the opportunity to a family who really needs the help much more than we do." I think at this point she thought I'd lost every one of my marbles, and maybe I had - but there were reasons for saying what I did. Firstly, we are surely not the only family there with three kids enrolled who are struggling to pay fees. Second, if that was her ONLY reason - meaning the triplet thing somehow makes us more deserving or more needy - well, frankly, that's ridiculous. Having triplets does not mean you are any more deserving or needy than any other family with three kids. Yes, the 'sameness' of them means that we don't have many hand me downs, our initial expenses for things are often astronomical, and we work harder to navigate the logistics of their lives because they have similar needs at similar times. Even with all that, there are so many families out there working as hard if not harder to achieve the same thing, who deal with much harder circumstances. We are not special in that regard (that we are an awesome family was never in doubt of course... *wink*) I don't need to look any further than the special needs and single parent household kids sitting right next to my kids in class. Sure, things are sometimes tough - but no tougher than anyone else has it.

There was a bit of a stunned silence on her end, until she gathered her wits and said, "Let me assure you that there being three of them was not the only reason. We go through this process with a fine toothed comb and there are many more reasons why we thought we would like to nominate your family."

"Oh," said I, feeling like a doofus now, "In which case, sure, nominate us." I didn't ask what the other reasons were, beause after all SSOTH is a million-dollar organisation, and I'm guessing they don't make decisions like this on a whim. I was just satisfied to learn that there were in fact other reasons here other than "the triplet thing." It also comforted me to know that we were not the only family nominated, that there were others who were being given this opportunity as well.

I've been thinking about that conversation ever since - and about how finance lady must really think I was crazy to say no initially, about why my reaction was so immediate, and about why I didn't think we were deserving. The fact remains, this school costs a small fortune which we can't really afford - but we made the choice that sending the kids there is important to us so we make it work. We're in an ocean of debt, which we're paying off slower than we otherwise would be, because we need to funnel funds to our school account. I hate debt. Of any kind. Surely that fact alone should have made me jump at the chance to relive the burden? Well...no.

In recent years (and specifically in the last 12 months or so), I've changed my entire attitude towards life. Basically, when I wake up in the morning - if I am healthy and well, my husband and kids are healthy and well, and we can afford to eat and have a roof over our heads...well, that's a damn good day. The rest is just a bonus. Sure - I really wish we didn't have this debt hanging over us, that I was 10 kilos thinner, that business would be booming much more, that DH had a job he was really loving, that the kids did not leave as much of a mess as they do, that we could afford a few more little luxuries, that my family lived a little closer, that life in general was easier and frankly, a little cushier than it currently is. And yet, all that is just details. The fact is, we are SO fortunate. Not only for our good health and access to food and shelter - but because we have the freedom to make the choices we do. So we find a way to afford SSOTH, we find a way to enjoy a myriad of life experiences and we just somehow find a way to muddle through.  Could things be better, nicer, easier, less stressful? Sure. Of course they could - but from where I sit, life is pretty grand and I'm so grateful for all we already have that the idea that someone could be offering me more than that...well, that took a minute or so for my brain to engage and to accept the opportunity she was offering.

I suppose when it comes right down to it, sending the kids to SSOTH is an enormous luxury. It really is. They would survive public school, we'd find a way to get them a religious education, and they would thrive because we do the best job we can when it comes to parenting them.  When you look at it that way, is *anybody* at a private school more needy than anyone else? I mean "needy" and "private school" don't really belong in the same sentence, do they? The irony is, we'd probably all be a little less needy if we didn't have those fees to pay.

I have no idea if we'll get that grant or not - but from where I sit right now, I'm grateful just for the opportunity given to us, deserving or not. 

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