Kalisha has often expressed the desire to be normal. Yes, I know all the cliche' answers: normal is a setting on your dryer, no one is normal, what is normal, on and on. It may be a word we can't define, totally, and each of us may have different ideas about the definition, but for Kalisha, it means several things and none of them have to do with intelligence.
For her, normal means doing what other people do. She would love to have a driver's license and a boyfriend and go to college. Those are her 'normals' because that is what she believes 'normal' people do.
Last week I went to IL for a writer's conference. I was only gone for 2 1/2 days. Due to some circumstances beyond my control, I had to leave Kalisha's debit/credit card with her. *You can read more about that here: Not Different Enough blog @ www.moms.fortwayne.com
I realized I was on pretty thin ice by doing that; however, she has become much more responsible about money, and I had no choice this time. My preconceived perceptions came to a screeching halt when she texted me and said, "My checking acc't. is overdrawn. What should I do?" Knowing the balance before I left, I had near apoplexy. What did she buy????
The previously mentioned blog post will answer that question. I want to tell you what she told me when I returned home. She was filled with 'buyer's remorse' and we returned nearly all of it, but as we drove home, she said, "It just made me feel so normal, Mom, to be able to go shopping and buy things like other people do."
That statement broke my heart. I want her to feel normal, too.
Before you think she never gets to buy anything, I want you to know she does buy 'stuff.' Quite a bit, actually. I believe the fact she was alone; I wasn't looking over her shoulder and advising her about the cost or savings or whatever. That's what made her excursion feel normal.
I try to allow her many independent outings, but I really do hover when she has her debit card in her hand. It isn't so much the money she is spending (although that is certainly a factor). We discussed the concept of being 'good stewards' of our money, as God tells us to be. I told her even if she had $1000 in her checking account, I would still advise her to be smart about what she purchases. Not all 'deals' are good deals and not every B1G1F is a good deal. $6 coloring books are not a good deal.
I don't want her to be a Scrooge, pinching every penny and not being generous, but I do want her to learn to be a bit wiser about spending. There must be a middle ground; where she can feel 'normal.'