So, I’m the middle of a trip to California that I sandwiched between the two parts of my move. I’m here mostly because my best friend is here, along with her husband, her dog, and her daughter — my goddaughter, who is not quite 3 and a half.
The baby was born while I was in graduate school all the way across the country, and as far as I know, for the foreseeable future we’ll live many many miles apart. Being 35 and not interested in signing up for solo parenting, I’ll most likely never have children of my own; although she’s not my child, she’s more to me than just the random child of a random friend, in all sorts of ways.
Given the projected state of my finances (I’ll make a low salary until the end, unless something changes radically in academia), I can’t expect to do much for her in the way of financial help. (Although right now she’d be the beneficiary of half my tiny IRA if I died, with my brother down for the other half.)
But what I can do is to be there, as much as I can. Laundry, diaper changes, going to the beach with her, reading books, putting her to bed when her parents are at work, cooking, dishes, taking her to the park…. I’ve done all that and more in the last few years. And it’s all free, except for my plane tickets. It’s the kind of investment I can make — so I do.