I'm trying to stand on my own two feet. I really am. I've brought my kids into a better, healthier home. I've pulled myself out of debt. I'm attempting to buy the house I rent for more stability.
But I'm not rich. I scrimped and worked hard to get to where I am right now, and there isn't a lot of money to spare.
So when the bank called and told me they'd approve my mortgage application if I doubled the down payment on the house, I nearly cried. Where would I come up with nearly $20,000?
Visions of the future danced through my head. My house would be sold to someone else. I'd be out of a place to live. I'd have to get another apartment, and it would be ugly and cramped. It would be expensive, too; my rent is lower than the norm for my town.
But I didn't cry. I got determined. I narrowed my eyes and started calling the person who might be able to help: my ex.
"Never too proud to bed, are you," my mother once said. "Aren't you ashamed?" As a matter of fact, no, I'm not too proud to ask for what I need. I watched my mother miss many opportunities in life because of too much pride.
I grew up with a different mind-set: If you ask for nothing, nothing is what you'll get.
I hated the idea of owing my ex money. That was a string that I didn't want tied around me. But it was give up on everything I'd worked for and downgrade or push forward and deal.
I half-expected him to say, "No way." He didn't. He was happy to help. After all, his daughter would have a nice house to live in and stability. He asked about how I'd pay him back, but in a thoughtful way, not in a way that made me feel small.
In the end, the bank goofed up and I didn't have to come up with the money after all. They approved the mortgage and I can breath a sigh of relief. I have a home of my own.
And I don't owe anyone a thing — but it's nice to know that help would've been there if I needed it.