I don’t even remember what brought it up. But somehow at dinner the other night, we started talked about the cost of things, budgeting, and money in general. Part of me wants to laugh even thinking about this – because financial wizards we are NOT. However, we have worked hard, have gotten lucky, and have a nice life.
Trust me, I know this.
We are not rich, but we go out to eat a lot. We don’t drive fancy cars, but we go on nice vacations. We live in a nice house, have nice jobs, and certainly spend far too much money on gadgets.
Other than telling Declan about all the times I had to walk uphill to school in the snow, both ways, how do I make him understand how lucky *he* is?
I have read books, we remind him to say thank you, we tell him about Haiti, we do public service. Nothing has really sunk in.
And I am not sure if dinner the other night made a difference either, but I could tell he was listening. Because as we were talking about nickels and quarters, I snuck in the Couch Story.
When Bryan and I first moved to Denver, 16 years ago, we didn’t have jobs. We had some money saved up, we had our college degrees, and we had the ambition to live a mile high. We had a small apartment that cost a buck nothing a month – but at the time, that seemed like the whole wide world. We got jobs waiting tables and screenprinting t-shirts and doing whatever needed to.
Because that is what you do.
I said those words to Declan last night for the first time. It never had occurred to me he might not know this. Silly me. He’s seven. But if you think about it – there are LOTS of people who don’t know this. Sad, but true.
So I told my son.
I told him how we struggled. How hard it was – how fun it was, too. How cool it felt to be taking care of ourselves for the first time, ever. Like, really really really doing it.
And about the time when we had no money. None, nada, zip. And had to go searching in the couch cushions for change to buy milk.
That we didn’t even have $3.00 in our bank account, on a credit card, ANYWHERE, and if we wanted milk, we had to find the cash to buy it.
In the couch.
It was like I was telling the Great American Story.
“Did… you find it?”
And that glass of milk was – by far – the best I have ever had in my life.