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."