On the way home, Stitch and I were chatting, and suddenly he asked when skating lessons would start again. I told him "not for awhile. You have Game Day on Saturday, but that's it for a few weeks."
He pouted for a moment. Tonight after dinner, I cleaned up and we went for a walk. This was to be a Talking Walk.
Stitch and I sat down in the middle of an Indian Summer night and we talked skating. I expressed how happy I was with his skating, and how proud everyone was. But I also explained that the skating is becoming a serious expense. He seemed a bit shocked. I told him that I didn't mind spending the money so long as he continued to make progress, do well, and be happy. However, I would cut back if any of that changed. We made some verbal agreements about goals to reach for February, and what is and is not acceptable behavior at the rink. Stitch agreed to it all. I agreed that I would give up my afternoon beers on the train home, and put that money to new ice skates when the time came. Stitch was very happy about this, he has often said that he "worries" about me drinking "too much beer." We also talked about coaches, and all that Coach Y had done for him; the progress made, how she stood up for him at the competition, all that. We decided to stay with her for awhile longer.
When we got home, I typed up a written mini-contract that is good to the end of February. I read it to him, he agreed, and we both signed it. One of the agreements was that I would not make him do Compulsories in his Alpha Competition. He sighed dramatically and said, "Oh, thank god."
I told him that I would show this to Coach, so she knew his goals and expectations. I then asked him to think about what music he would like so I could cut it for him.
It was kind of heartbreaking; when I told him that he could choose between doing a competition in the spring or the spring show at the rink, as I could only afford one or the other, he got wide eyed and said he didn't want to do either.
"But I thought you enjoyed competing."
"I do, but you don't have to spend the money!"
"No, sweetie, I want you to do it. You just have to choose. I think you would be better off competing, as the routines for the PreStyle kids in the shows seem really simple."
"Yeah, that ice show routine is EASY."
I read somewhere that the best way to teach your kids about money is for you not to have any. Stitch knows that we are not rich. He spends a lot of time devising ways to make or find money. He thinks we should open a store, with me making and selling clothes and jewelry, and he would sell his crafts and art projects. I keep saying that money isn't everything, and there are a lot of miserable, wealthy people out there who would do anything to have what our family has. He doesn't believe me.
Just trust me, kiddo.