I love my niece like I love breathing but I swear I don’t know where she gets off! My beautiful, talented niece who’s honest and intelligent has officially lost her mind. Granted, this isn’t the first time I’ve made this declaration.
The first time was when she texted me about her pregnancy. I received a text from my nineteen year old niece that she was pregnant! I was flabbergasted. You don’t f**king send me a text message that your teenage self is going to have a baby. WTF!
Once she admitted she was pregnant (yes, there were initial denials), we talked about her options. She decided to stay in school until the end of the fall semester, take off the spring semester, and re-enter the following fall semester. Right! Less than a week later she dropped out of college. Three years later…Unless you’re Kanye West, stay your a$$ in school.
The nine months of her pregnancy were fraught with drama. She pretty much told us to collectively kiss her behind and that her and her baby daddy knew what they were doing. It’s amazing what she was going to do with her new family, and how she didn’t need us for nuthin’! They had it all figured out without ever having an actual gameplan. When the dust settled she’s living in her parents’ basement with baby daddy no where in sight.
But this is what brings me to the latest WTF! moment. My loving niece and her spectacular son call me to extend birthday wishes. He serenades me with a 3-year old’s version of Happy Birthday and then demands that I sing it to him. I love every minute of it (especially since our birthdays are two days apart). My niece takes the phone and we chat for a moment before the realization hits that it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon. So I ask whether she had today off from work. She at least had the decency to reply with hesitation, “Aunt Cheryl, you know I quit my job.”
Now, I know no such thing! We had a conversation a couple of weeks earlier in which she complained about the people at her job, the environment, and the level of disorganization. I told her that in this economy, it wasn’t smart to leave a job without at least having viable prospects. I tried to explain that even though her job wasn’t ideal, she should at least take advantage of the benefits afforded her and her son as well as the opportunity to finish school on someone else’s dime. She “yes ma’am” me throughout the conversation and I thought we had an understanding. Well, now I understand, she’s breaking my heart and my image of her. Who gave her the impression that it was acceptable to quit her job and stay at home with no financial support? This is a young, able-bodied, smart young woman who thinks it’s okay to leave her place of employment because the people were getting on her nerves. Hell, if that’s the case then we’d all be chillin’ at home. Did we not instill a proper work ethic? It’s frustrating because she tries honestly to be a good person but there’s a disconnect. I talk to her about saving money, investing, setting goals and it seems like she’s listening until I realize she’s hearing Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice, “Whaamp, whaamp, whaamp. Whaaaaamp?”
Next moment of Zen my niece provides stems from her lack of money sense. I’m taking my sister on a Caribbean vacation for her birthday. It’s just going to be me and her, sand and sun, and maybe a cabana boy. My niece tells me that she’s going to give my sister/her mother money so she can buy stuff for her. I politely ask, “When does a single mother with no job still living with her parents have a disposable income?” Silence. “Oh, you don’t know the answer,” I ask, “well, the answer is never. You don’t have money to give anybody unless they’re supplying you with heat, gas, oil or housing.”
This answer upsets her. “Oh, aunt Cheryl, I have some money.”
“No you don’t. At least you don’t have extra money. You see Peanut (that’s what I call her), extra money is for those who are gainfully employed, without (bad) debt, living in their own spots with a retirement plan that doesn’t involve hitting the lottery. Please allow me to repeat that you ain’t got no job!”
I am left speechless that someone in this economy could think it okay to not appropriately provide for herself and her family. She quit her job! Quit! As if she had that luxury. As if she was entitled to a “break” from dealing with reality. Damn!