Friday, March 07, 2008

Chagrin

Pin It My husband and I have been talking about money a lot lately - what to pay, who to put off, whether or not power and water are really all that necessary - you know, all of the fun stuff you have to weigh when money gets really tight. It all got kind of overwhelming for a while and we forgot to watch what we were saying in front of the children.

The other night when we were driving home from the grocery store, Sarah asked if we could go to McDonalds. I said something dismissive about not having enough money. I meant that I didn’t have the cash on me, but didn’t think about how it would sound to her.

When we got home, Sarah came and sat down next to me. Her six year old eyes solemn, she said, “Here mom, now you don’t have to worry about money anymore,” and she handed me a plastic bag. Inside were crumpled dollar bills, the ten dollar bill she got from her grandparents for her birthday and assorted quarters and nickels and dimes and pennies.

I gave her a huge hug while I pulled myself together, and then we had a long, reassuring (I hope) talk. Afterward, I went into the hallway and smacked my head against the wall a few times, just to make sure the lesson was well and truly knocked into my head.

And it is. They teach me stuff every single day, ya know?

44 comments:

  1. What a sweet, darling daughter! She is so serious and mature for her age. And obviously well taught. I'm glad she was sent to our family!

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  2. omg, that just made me cry. They do hear so much and worry so much for us.

    I hope your talk did reassure her!!!

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  3. Awww, what a little sweetie. Bless her little heart for wanting to help however she could.

    You're such a good little mama, Sue...I'm sure your hug and pep talk were just what she (and you) needed right then. Hang in there, friend...it's not forever. Just a bump in the road.

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  4. Maddison1:27 PM

    That is such a sweet little girl you have there! I remember my parents talking about money (or rather, the lack thereof) and remarking to them, "Just go to the bank!" (like duh, mom and dad!) Your daughter is obviously more heartfelt than I was though! lol :)
    Children are so dear!

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  5. Don't beat yourself up Sue! We've gone through that before and even though it hurts your kids will learn from your pain. They are learning to take the hit and roll with the punches. No classroom can teach that lesson. Kids adjust a lot faster than we do.
    My kids have shown more courage and faith than I have. It's hard and humbling all at the same time. I know this isn't what you want them to see or go through. May it be a seed in their lives that will produce something much better down the road. I hope that make sense. :)

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  6. Aww, what a sweetheart!

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  7. It would be nice if we could be perfect for our children, now wouldn't it? I hope you didn't dent the wall too much. If you and your husband haven't been screaming and throwing things at each other over this, you've done just fine.

    Maybe you could get a book out of this....

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  8. She is such a sweet girl and so kindhearted. Thanks for sharing this story.

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  9. That made me tear up. How completely selfless of her. You must have been so proud of her, even whilst banging your head against the wall.

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  10. I had this same conversation with my daughter recently. It was so painful, and yet it made me feel good.

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  11. from the mouths of babes...

    love it

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  12. What a beautiful gesture on her part.

    We can't figure out this parenting gig without them humbling us on a regular basis, we really can't.

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  13. Aren't they precious? They keep us on the ground.

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  14. What a good girl. You've taught her well.

    Money was tight when I was growing up. "We have milk money, but we don't have ice-cream money," my Mom would tell me. She had at least half a dozen mantras. We didn't have money for a lot of things I'd ask for, but she'd always assure me in the same breath that we had money for the things we needed.

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  15. Yes, what a sweetheart. We definitely can learn a lot from the little ones.

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  16. That sweet spirit was developed by you and your hubby, that kind of giving doesn't just happen.
    Good job mom!

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  17. What a sweet girl you have. Instead of complaining, she offered to help. I could just cry.

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  18. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I don't think it's a bad thing that kids understand that sometimes there isn't money. It certainly didn't hurt me.

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  19. I used to think I shouldn't be in tumbling because it was $25 a month. I always felt like I was burdening my financially strapped parents with my activities.
    I'm glad she is young & you had a good talk with her about it so she understands. I think it is realistic to have money issues, and kids should know that that happens in life, it's just a matter of reassuring them that you are going to be fine & that it isn't their fault. I think. (I would have liked a discussion like that. Mind you, I haven't had that talk with my own kids yet. oops)

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  20. Sweet girl!
    We really do forget that they are listening and processing, don't we. I think you're doing a great job, Sue. Really.

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  21. That is just so sweet. You're obviously doing a good job of raising a caring empathetic child.

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  22. What a sweet little girl you ahve there! My kids teach me stuff every day! I though I was supossed to be the one to do that. Littld did we all know I really think it's the other way around.

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  23. My heart just broke a bit for you. What a darling girl.
    I think every family - except for the five rich people in the world - go through tight, scary times. Hang in there.

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  24. sweet girl - don't you wish everyone had such a big heart!

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  25. Ahhh what a sweetheart! That reminds me of something my daughter would do. They are oh so wise for being so young :-)

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  26. So, I interrupt my own head-banging to tell you that it's probably not an accident that your daughter is loving and generous and sweet and empathic.

    Just sayin'...

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  27. I agree with Azucar--it's not that bad to be poor and know it.

    I used to think my parents were so poor that we couldn't even ask for a candy bar at the store. I wish I would have taught my kids that. It would save me a lot of checkout discussions . . .

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  28. What a little sweetie!! They are there to teach us all sorts of lessons. I often have been taught a lesson or two from my own!

    Thanks so much for coming by this evening. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers for our sweet baby - he's hanging on and doing well, for now - poor little thing. Have a good Sunday and I'll see you soon. Kellan

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  29. I agree with Azucar... as sad as that experience was, its also good for kids to realize that money doesn't grow on trees. It helps them to be more grounded teenagers and adults. Rather than thinking the world revolves around them and they should have ALL the latest greatest gagets, gizmos and toys... Don't be hard on yourself! Really. If you handle this whole situation carefully, you could be teaching your children some valuable life lessons! (there was a time in our past when money was non existent... we had our kids help us with the budgeting and planning of where finances went so that when we said NO to something, they understood why and that we weren't just being mean... it was a good FHE lesson)
    anyway, isn't that what we are supposed to be doing as parents? Teaching our kids??
    I'm sure I will be burned at the stake for THAT opinion. Oh well.
    You did good! You're wonder woman in my book!

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  30. How sweet!!
    Thanks for coming by my blog. Haven' seen you in awhile! p.s. we live in Flagstaff AZ. Don't tell anyone! :-)

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  31. OMIGOSH! That totally made me cry! What a sweet little girl you've raised. Bless her heart.

    My husband has his entire extended family in PA, and because of the cost of airline tickets and our own VERY TIGHT BUDGET, we don't get to travel very often to see all his aunts/uncles/cousins/granparents. Emily was about 3, Jared was 1 and Connor was still just a wish and we were trying to coordinate getting back there again for a visit and were discussing how it just wasn't working out financially. I never gave two seconds thought to Emily coloring in the room with us until she ran out of the room, came back with her little piggy bank and said, "Here, I have tons of money. Now can we go?"

    It's amazing how intuitive they are, even when we DON'T speak about certain things in front of them. They know... Don't beat yourself up about it. I think she SHOULD partly understand that there isn't always money for McD's. You're only human doing the best you can. You're a great mommy!

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  32. She is a sweetie! What a beautiful, beautiful little girl. Your right, our children teach us the best lessons, every day.

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  33. My boy has offered up his piggy bank (all $14 of it) to solve monetary concerns.

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  34. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Suzie-Fetchin-Q, can you guess who this is? If you don't, that would be just "wild". I would say for you to call me and we could catch up, but seeing as how I read through all of your blogs last night and found out you don't talk on the phone, I guess that wont happen. Let me know if you can remember who this is!

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  35. Just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog, humor, and honesty. So sorry about your current situation. A good friend once said "Poo comes in clumps" ... for what it's worth. HUGS!

    J

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  36. Anonymous: I am seriously about to have an aneurysm trying to remember who used to call me that. REVEAL YOURSELF.

    Or don't. And drive me slowly insane. ;>

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  37. That gets to me because I was that kid -- worried, at too young of an age, if the heat or lights would get turned off. Again.

    I don't think kids need to know about specifics, but they do need to know about the realities of money.

    While we were engaged, my husband and I went to visit a man from my husband's home ward in California, and we happened to show up on their doorstep on a Monday evening. They were finishing Family Home Evening, so we waited on their front step before we rang the bell. Their window was open, though, so we did listen in. We heard this good couple tell their children, "We want you to know that we could absolutely afford to buy all those things you kids have been talking about. We just choose not to."

    This brilliant message is employed every day in our home (except for the being able to afford it part): we choose not to. The kids don't need to know where we fall short financially, but they need to know that we choose to not buy certain things. At Costco: "Mom, can we get pizza at the food court?" "Nope, today's not our day for pizza." It works very well for us.

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  38. Sue, I'm catching up on all my favourite blogs...and I KNOW you don't want a pity party, but I am MAD at the world for you having to go through all of this. The house, the snow angels. I can only believe that you will be rewarded tenfold for your amazing dignity and grace handling this situation.

    You are raising lovely, thoughful kids, and it is only natural that they will have picked up some of the stuff that's being going on. I'm sure you were able to reassure your daughter, however, and you might just want to get her a Happy Meal soon.

    Hugs to you my friend! I can't wait to watch your comeback.

    Heidi

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  39. Wow! What a sweet daughter you have. Hopefully your hugs and reassurances will make her feel better!

    Hugs to you too!

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  40. Even with the awesome hints of your old nick name and "going wild" (Taco Bell), you did not remember Mark and Crystal Martin!

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  41. EEEEK! Crystal!

    You won't believe me, but I told my husband this morning, "I'll bet it's Crystal." (But I couldn't remember the wild thing, it threw me off the trail.) Email me, woman! suelikestoblogandwastetime @ gmail . com

    Or at least grant me access to your blog, tee hee

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  42. It's this (and stories like this) that help me understand what is meant by the scriptural admonitions to become as a little child. They are so pure.

    P.S. thanks for your comments on my blog. They are so sweet (sorry for the Pavlovian stimulus/response phenomenon I've set into effect for you, though. (hope they're good sniffles. Cathartic, at least?)

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  43. ~Cari~10:22 PM

    You know, I read this and it brought back a flood of memories for me. I know exactly where you are right now because I've been there. Hard just doesn't describe it! I had the same thing happen with one of my children. It was a horrible feeling. But, one thing that I don't regret is not hiding our problems completely from our children. We obviously didn't share all the details but they were aware of our situation. From this story and previous ones you've shared (the teenagers at the grocery store comes to mind) it is obvious that you are raising some amazing children. I know what you are going through right now is incredibly difficult, but I can tell you that things will get better and your family will be stronger when it's all said and done because you are going through this together. Honestly, I look back and I'm actually thankful we struggled with money and weren't able to give our kids everything they wanted when they wanted it. They had what they needed and learned to appreciate that and any extra things they've gotten so much more.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing and sorry for the long comment.

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