November 25th, 2011
When my parents were here a while back for a visit, they were watching TV one afternoon with sweetie boy sitting close by. As my dad channel surfed through daytime TV financial talk shows, across the screen flashed the show title, “Money Matters.“ With his insightful 8 ½ year-oldness in full force, my boy read it out loud and inquired, “Uh, so how much does money really matter Grammy and Bah?” Hmmm. Apparently he asked it as nonchalantly as he would ask if he had karate the next day. I don’t know what mom and dad’s exact answer was (I heard the story second hand) but no doubt they gave a fantastic grandparent-like answer that relayed the idea of balanced priorities and the dangers of materialism.
Later that night as I stood at the counter making dinner, I wanted to ask him about it. I got out a post-it note and a pen in preparation for our interview.
“So honey,” I asked, “Where would you put money on your list of important things? What would come first?” In between bites of fish sticks, with his knee up on his chair, tucked under his chin, he rattled this off…
How Much Money Matters According to an 8 ½ Year Old:
- Food (I’m guessing cheeseburgers)
- Animals (owls, lizards and tropical birds)
- Play (Star Wars and Legos)
- The Earth
- The Universe
I’ve kept that post-it on my desk ever since. And when I sat down today to check email (20 of which were Black Friday deals), it dawned on me that this was a good day to share it.
Yesterday was for family and feasting and being thankful.
Today was about 2am-door-buster-gravy-blaster-red-tag slashin’-clearance-all-the-2-for-1 deals-you-can-cram-in-your-car-before-you-get-into-a-fist-fight-over-the-last-parking-spot-at-the-mall consumption.
For the next month it will be hard to get out from under the mountain of wrapping paper and added to-do’s and stress and remember what we’re celebrating in the first place. In fact, as I sit here and type this tonight, my husband is putting up or Christmas tree (and he’s already way annoyed at the strand of lights that won’t work and the fuses that are so dang small he has to put on his new glasses to be able to replace them).
We’re very lucky to be annoyed at our tree, that for the first time, will go for in our big new back porch with a high ceiling. We have a new house that we moved into this past summer. We are safe and warm and comfortable. And we have a big basement to hold years and years of stuff. It makes me feel guilty sometimes, this house…that maybe it’s more space than we need. That maybe we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. But then I think about why we bought it.
To put more people in it.
To finally cook a turkey in the oven (check!).
To fill our guest room.
To host sledding parties on snowy days (I have major plans for the ultimate neighborhood ice alpine races).
To put more friends and neighbors on the deck for cheeseburgers.
To someday (yikes) take the kid’s prom pictures in the pretty front yard.
It’s hard to keep it in perspective – the whole money thing. But in the end, I guess all that matters is that you just be sure, no matter how much you may or may not have, you try and keep it at #11. Because moms and dads, cousins, buddies, health, playgrounds, lizards, legos, the Earth, the Universe…and post-it notes you’ll keep forever – all come first.