Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Cost of Things

Maggie's learning $ math and that, together with trying to save her own money often leads to conversations about how much things cost.  She's so quick to spend her one dollar bill on flavored water that she doesn't need b/c she has water in her lunch bag.  She really likes a new song on the radio and is tired of the songs I put on her iPod shuffle.  I explain that she should save her money and get herself an iTunes gift card and then pick out some songs she'd like to add to her iPod.  She seemed amazed that something like this was even possible for a mere $5.  Then when she wants to order a pizza and I say, not tonight I don't have any money, she's quick to say "I DO!! You can have my money Momma, I have $3.00 saved.  Is that enough?"  What a Sweetheart. 
Explaining the cost of things is challenging to her 7 year old brain, but she's a quick study and loves math.   But she overheard someone use the expression "OK, but it's gonna cost you!" and many questions followed.  (She's a very inquisitive child, she'd be a good detective, but really the image of the cartoon mouse Sniffles would be more appropriate).
Trying to explain what "cost" can relate to when not referring to money, is challenging.  Substituting "value" works for many things, in many situations, but, like I said, she's tenacious and she will niggle out situations that you can't even imagine.  "But he said it's gonna cost you, that means the other person was gonna have to pay him something right? Not value him." Ah true enough true enough.  Yes, yes, the other person was going to have to give him something of value, see that was the cost, his price to pay.  SMH, did I just add "price" in to this conversation?  FANTASTIC....

Alligators have baby alligators so they say and God/dess knows my brain never shuts off, so I appreciate Maggie's mind, I do.  I'm afraid of the level of craziness she may have as she gets older though, what's her OCD going to be like? I'm literal, she's literal + she likes to argue.  She'll be a great lawyer some day I tell her, she tells ME, she's not going to be a lawyer, she's going to be a Supreme Court Judge - I haven't asked her yet how she's going to do that without becoming a lawyer...but she's also going to be an illustrator and a veterinarian.  Perhaps all three.  And BOY will that cost me! LOL

Naturally, this got me to thinking about worth - aaaahhh! So glad I didn't add that word to our dialogue!  What truly is the cost of some things? Not necessarily monetary things, yes, we all have our bills - at least I do.  If you don't that's awesome! Great! But I do and lots of them.  Some months we need to figure out if we should get oil or pay the mortgage.  Do you choose to heat the house that you didn't pay the mortgage on or pay the mortgage on the house you couldn't afford to heat that month? Perhaps that was a bad example.

More to the point would be, the little pieces of yourself, your self-worth as it were that you give up in order to make an impossible decision. THAT's the kind of "cost" I'm talking about.  When you realize that these decisions put together, side by side or all in a row, however you choose to look at it cost you something.  Maybe a friendship, a job opportunity, a chance at a relationship, something.  How do you rectify that, how do you, A: put a value on whatever it is and B: where do you put it within yourself.  Even when something costs us a part of ourselves, we don't actually lose it.  In fact it become a bigger part of us ironically.  Suddenly it's there all the time.  Like the death of a family member, it's a loss but it's now something that you carry with you everyday.

I want to teach my girls the value of themselves, the value of each other, the value of family and friends.  The cost of an argument or hurtful words.  That a day "wasted" cleaning the house together has the reward of an evening of family company. 

I can carry with me always the fear that my children will never understand what it "cost" my husband and I when we made and continue to make the decision for me to be a stay-at-home mom so I can be here for the girls.  It's too big of a explanation for them to see what we've all given up in order for that to happen. And what point would that have anyway? They're little girls. Looking back they may just remember that they didn't have the best clothes or shoes and wore their winter jackets for as many winters as I could get out of them and my youngest, wore Maggie's again - all of her clothes, again and again.  That we never went out to eat or to the movies very often. But that's the price I'm willing to pay, to be here when the phone rings to get them when their sick or to be able to stay home with them when their sick, the whole nine.  That's the price I pay and I have no bearing on what they'll remember this time as anyway. LOL  After all, there is no value on love right?  Like that famous credit card commercial..Mortgage: $2,000, Grocery Bill: $200, Being there when your kids get home: Priceless  Plus, they're learning how to cook and bake, they love spending time with me in the kitchen and family night is either a game or a movie - at home.  All movies come on TV eventually.

Rumi, another one of my favorite poets/mystic/theologians says "Burdens are the foundations of ease and bitter things the forerunners of pleasure."

If you sat and thought about all the things life cost you, you could get lost in thought for hours, days even.  (Last meant to sound like Snagglepuss).  What we need to think about are those things that take us away from those people or places or activities that we cherish or  need to tend to and not let them cost us more time.  If you've spent too much time away from someone you love b/c of FB or gaming or work (if it's avoidable), stop. A friend of mine had a good point the other day, he was referring to exercising but it works in any situation where you need extra time - If you have time for FB you have the time for _______.  You like to paint? Draw? Write?  What brings you peace?  Maybe you need time away from your kids for an hour.  Maybe they're costing you your sanity - hey it happens every once and a while.  Where is your peace?  Take it, take it today, just for 20 minutes.  Stop saying you don't have time.  FB, Twitter, TV, they're stealing your time, you don't need that ~ unless of course that IS your peace, then "rock it" as Maggie would say. 

And, as Rumi (again) would say:

"Be occupied, then, with what you really value and let the thief take something else."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


"I love all beginnings, despite their anxiousness and their uncertainty, which belong to every commencement. If I have earned a pleasure or a reward, or if I wish that something had not happened; if I doubt the worth of an experience and remain in my past--then I choose to begin at this very second.   Begin what? I begin. I have already thus begun a thousand lives." ~ Rilke
Happy 2012, may it bring you happiness, peace, joy, beginnings and contented if not exhilaratingly satisfying endings. 
As I waited to ring in the new year, I reflected back on 2011 and bid farewell to it and all it's lessons and trials.  Honestly, I am not sorry to see the back end of that year.  It was a difficult one for my family.  It started out on a very emotionally and stressful note as we had just learned of my Mom's cancer diagnosis and it just remained a very rocky, roller-coaster-y year.  As well as financially draining thanks mostly to Apocalypse House.  Though I am ecstatic to say that since her surgery Mom has remained cancer free.  2011 wasn't all bad after all.
I posted a saying on my FB wall or timeline as they now have - will they ever stop messing with the FB format??? It read:
"View your life with kindsight, stop beating yourself up about things from your past.  Instead of slapping your forehead and asking:"What was I thinking?" Breathe and ask yourself the kinder question" "What was I learning?" 
I tried to keep that in mind as I went through my datebook, scanning quickly so as not to linger too long on the harder days instead choosing to smile and laugh more at the antics and funny things my children did, learned and experienced.  That's the best part of writing little quips everyday.  I'm so glad that I finally came to some sort of peace with that.  Keeping a datebook near my bed and writing a line or two in there every day.  Then when I do have time to write in the girls journals I just need to flip back to the place I left off at the previous entry and voilĂ ! That way I don't miss all the funny things they say, provided I can remember to write them down as they happen, sometimes by the time I go to bed, I have already forgotten what they may have said and I have to wait for it to come around again! LOL
When I realized I was journalling for the girls and not for myself and then that there wasn't enough time even for much of that, I was afraid that I would forget some things.  My sister Mare and I laugh at how we would write a few "key" words that would spark our memories and let the whole incident, whatever it might be, come flooding back.  In reality - that  never happens.  What happens is more like finding a sticky note that has hastily scribbled words that read: "7/19 (no year BTW) S ~ "LOS SIB was LOS PARENT"  yeah, no clue.  She evidently figured something out, maybe some great discovery, and I have no clue.  So, sticky notes don't work.  Neither does waking up in the middle of the night and scribbling key words incidentally, FYI.  My new way has been working out fairly well as far as using a datebook for day-to-day life, though I have yet to figure out a way to rectify the middle-of-the-night "I have just solved a major problem" scribbles that are never legible!  Should I ever, I shall share with you, no worries.
Yesterday was the day I set aside some time to do my 2012 calendars, adding all the birthdays and special dates that I need to remember.  I find it so strange that by the time I've finished, I've gone through the whole year. BOOM!  I'm at 12/31/12. Already, celebrated all those things in my head, said hi to friends, wished friends and family "Happy Birthday" and "Happy Anniversary", placed a heart and said a prayer on the anniversary of my brother and my father's death.  Looked at all the stuff I did last year and the gifts that were given to me that were so unexpected when I did this same activity last year.  Like my unbelievably beautiful and amazing Goddaughter, last January I didn't have her b-day on the calendar, cause she wasn't in the world yet! But this year she'll be turning one.  Amazing.  Last year I wrote "Groovy/Meep" in the space for Pets for their MD appts and in July we had to go through the unexpected heartache of putting Groovy to sleep.  As I filled out that space this year I wondered if Meep would be getting company in that space anytime soon.  Who knows?  Who knows what joys will befall me this year.  I already have one joy awaiting me....another Goddaughter, just waiting to be born.  Now if that isn't a great beginning to a year, a new year, a new life, a new family member. ♥
I hope the beginning of your year was beautiful in the way you wanted.  I hope it remains to grow and encompass all the things you need to complete your journey through 2012.