Yes it can become quite a “crime” to make less money, way less money, than your former spouse, especially when your time is spent trying to stay out of jail because you can’t keep up with a lawyer’s bills. It ends up going way beyond not being able to buy stuff as nice as the other parent does or driving the older car.
Because I don’t recall us ever really going without around here. I remember homemade gifts and cakes, homemade dinners, laughter and love. I remember all those trips to the library instead of the movie theater, garage sale-ing together instead of trips to the mall. I remember things you can’t put a price-tag on; the gifts of togetherness, laughter, faith, reading, studying, caring for animals, gardens and friends. I remember scholarship applications/essays and wonderful academic acceptance letters.
But more than all this material stuff, it goes to the heart of the matter in the courtroom – dealing with all of the court vendors, and especially an attorney appointed to oversee your family. Yes, I make much less money than my ex. Last time I checked that does not make me a bad person, a bad parent, or a criminal. It just makes me less profitable for you and your friends.
As I sit here trying to finish a hand-knitted scarf in time for the big day, waiting for permission to give this lowly gift at the office of a court vendor who violated ethics rules in our case and others, I’m reminded of the child in a manger, born in the hay surrounded by animals, God’s greatest gift to the world – simple, unconditional love. And I wonder, what is the value of his gift to the world, if not to teach us all to be a little more loving, a little more grateful, a little less judgey, less centered on things, and more centered on just loving each other. Happy Birthday, Jesus, and Merry Christmas to all.