Happy Mother's Day
My mother taught me to shop at thrift stores. To hunt for something special and pay less for it. To find treasures at garage sales. To appreciate window shopping, look, but not necessarily have to buy. She taught me that lady bugs are worth 10 cents, and Praying Mantises are worth $1.00 if I caught them and put them in the garden to eat the "yucky" bugs. She set up star charts and chore charts so that I could earn prizes or money by doing house work. She paid me extra to hang clothes on the line. She taught me that nature is free and composting is awesome. I love you, mom.
My dearly-departed Mother-in-law taught me that shopping can be fun when you do it with someone you love. That things don't have to be fancy or expensive to be cool. I learned how to buy for others with her, because that's what she was good at. It didn't matter if it was a birthday, or Christmas, or April 29th, if you see something that someone might like, and you can swing it, why not give a gift to someone else? She taught me that God loves a cheerful giver, and that no one else gave more than Christ. I learned that communication about finances makes for a happier marriage from her. I love you, Gina, and miss you every day.
My old-fashioned grandma, to whom I still write letters and stamp them and send them in the mail, taught me that rummage sales rock. That it's okay to leave the price tag on when you give a gift, and that sometimes it's cool to splurge on a glittery, purple bracelet. She taught me that you can give more Christmas presents on a fixed income when you shop second-hand, and that everyone needs sox for Christmas. I learned about being savvy with money from her. Somehow, even on her very limited income managed to give all her kids and grand kids $20.00 each for Christmas for as long as I can remember. I learned that through planning and budgeting, anything is possible. I love you, Grandma Helen.
My dearly-departed Grandma taught me that loving and supporting your husband can be the best job in the world, and when he takes care of your needs, it doesn't matter where the money comes from or who makes more. I learned that moving doesn't have to be scary, and sometimes, downsizing and simplifying doesn't mean less, but that less is more. I learned that partnership with money is a two-way street, and that love wins in the end. I love you, Grandma Mary, your memory lives on.
My one-and-only Aunt taught me that spending money on vacations is not only fun, but necessary. She taught me that having a career and money doesn't make you greedy or evil, but rather dedicated and passionate. I learned about what is possible when you tighten the belt to live more modestly, and that luxury can be found in anything, and doesn't necessarily mean bigger or more expensive. I love you, Aunt Peggy.
And from my two sisters, who are not mothers yet, but who are Aunties to my children...
From my Sister-in-law, I learned that sometimes debt can be negotiable, and that holding fast in your beliefs can make you wealthier than money ever can. She taught me that bartering and trade are not only a skill, but can be a way of life. I learned about living by your wits and trusting your instincts instead of depending solely on money to get by. I love you, Kella.
And from my own dear sister, the only blood sibling I have in this entire world, I learned that it's okay to take time finding a job you really care about, that at the end of the day, a paycheck is a paycheck. She taught me that letting your partner pick up a bill every now and then is not a mark of failure, but of unconditional trust. She taught me that having one car is not the end of the world, but a chance to compromise, communicate and appreciate your own ride when you finally get one. And that no matter where you live, shared money can make that place a beautiful home. I love you, Sarah, my Diassah.
From each of these beautiful, talented, savvy, and courageous women, I have learned something about money, that everyone has their own relationship with it, that there is always room for growth and improvement, that we all make financial mistakes, and that there is plenty to go around, no matter where you live or who you are. But above all else, with each of them, I was reflected back love. In the end, that's all that matters. Fun Dollars will come and go, but without love, it's all just paper in the pocket.
Happy Mother's Day, and Happy Spending.