page contents

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Once Upon a Fortnite

"I like to think having money wouldn't change who I am, but I won five bucks on a scratch-off the other day and immediately purchased some name-brand aluminum foil."  – Readers Digest

If you laughed at this quote, I'm guessing you might've struggled for money some time during your life. I didn't grow up exactly poor. But on the wealth spectrum, I'd say our family landed on the left side of the middle-class. We were never hungry. Mom kept her sewing machine well-oiled to ensure I always had something to wear. Fashionable even. And we always had a motorcycle in the garage. Some might've consider that an extravagance. Not to my father. A cycle was (and is) a bare necessity.

Needless to say, I felt the tension anytime money got tight. Those were times I really hated our financial status. But being poor is a great motivator. My mother (who grow up really, really poor) made sure I got things she never did. And I was going to make darn sure my kids got things I never did.

But there's something to be said about growing up without money.

That some serious gaming.
Since I work at a bank, I try to keep a close eye on my children's spending habits – especially the high schooler who only earns about $50 a month. Sometimes I get a little lax in my monitoring. But when his auntie overheard him talking about the money he spent on "outfits" for that time-squandering game called Fortnite, I thought I should check it out.

$208 since January. On avatar outfits. The kid only has two pairs of real jeans.

Needless to say, I wasn't happy. I'm not the type to blow a gasket. And Cole knows this all-too-well, so somehow he manages to get away with shit with hardly any repercussions. Case in point: I was lecturing him, via text about this recent spend. But he just kept owning up to it. No argument. No defensiveness. I kept pressing. Finally, he texted this:

"It was me. I'm sorry. I'm done I swear. We can now move on and learn from this."

We can now move on and learn from this? Isn't that what I'm supposed to say?

Okay, then. That's what I said.

I've thought about this a lot. Cole knows his little stunt won't break us. And it was from the money he earned. God forbid, he save for college, or use it for one of his daily visits to Burger King. I'll make those suggestions. But he knows darn-well I'll give him money for food. That's just an innate maternal thing. We feed kids, no matter what. Even when we want to teach them a lesson.

Anyway, I can only hope I laid on the mom-guilt thick enough to prevent further stupid Fornite activity. But somehow, I doubt it. I'll bet you $208 it'll happen again. But I do take comfort in the fact that our daughter once had a penchant for spending money on foolish things like a $40 Harry Potter wands and $10 smoothies. And now? She's as frugal as they come. But it took the move away from home and the giant-financial-suck of college for her to figure it out. And fortunately, she doesn't play Fortnite.