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Monday, July 11, 2005

From babies to braces

Not so long ago my husband and I congratulated ourselves on making our last child care payment after 12 long years. Seemed like a milestone in our life and my husband was near-giddy at the prospect of having that extra cash in our monthly budget.

I tempered his enthusiasm with a comment to the effect of "I'm sure that cash will be consumed by something else, say athletic shoes."

Alas we enjoyed two months of no payments and then we had our fateful meeting with the orthodontist last week and our long-term financial trajectory has become crystal clear. It is thus:

• Child care
• Braces/orthodontics
• College tuition

We knew we were in for braces with Ryan, (early indications are that we'll go three-for-three on braces) but I for one had to scoop my jaw off the floor when I saw the price tag. Clearly the cost has quadrupled since I had braces. But like all other necessary expenses, we'll grin (with our million-dollar smiles) and bear it.

Besides maybe we'll one day experience the flip side of a financial whammy, otherwise known as a windfall. One can hope for the unexpected. After all, and with a nod to author Ursula K. LeGuin, the only thing that makes life tolerable is not knowing what comes next.


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