Sometimes I think I can hear a little cash register ringing in my head. I think my husband can hear it on occasion as well, which may mean we are both insane.
When I first had kids I thought that babies were expensive. Now I know better. Currently our cheapest child his our little H (only 20 mos.). He eats, he poops, occasionally we bathe him. Beyond diapers, the financial output required to keep him at the standard of living he requires is minimal. I would also venture to say he is the best dressed of all of us (thanks to my mom's neighbor lady's garage sales!) So what am I talking about you ask?
Our oldest daughter is blessed with some serious gymnastics skill, she started gymnastics last spring and has quickly moved up to an elite, pre-competitive team. She is so excited about this I can only smile when I think of the small car payment we are going to begin paying for her to keep up her passion.
She will be making her First Communion this year, is Sunday school free? No way!Plus we have to pay 2 sacrament fees. One for First Communion, and one for First Reconciliation. We're talking in the neighborhood of $200 not including the cute First Communion dress and party in the spring.
Our middle daughter, just like her sister HAS to go to Sunday school, also not free. N also takes dance lessons which is no cheap deal either. Lessons, plus costumes, plus tickets to the recital. Not to mention the time suckage when I spend Monday nights, Tuesday and Thursday nights, Saturday AM's all watching my children doing what they love. Not including the monthly Wednesday's for Family Faith at church.
So why do I do it? Because my mom did it, because my mother-in-law did it. To keep my kids off drugs, off the streets, out of trouble, to help them build confidence.
I may not get a thanks tonight when I spend 2-1/2 hours watching gymnastics practice, or tomorrow when I am filling out the forms for book orders (ka-ching). It may be years before I get so much as acknowledgement from them for the time and $$$ spent, but it's worth it. Today I look at my parents and my in-laws and think about what they gave up or the budgeting they did and the volunteer hours they put in so my husband and I were always ready for our meets, be they track (me) or wrestling and football (R).
It was worth it, we are better people for it, and despite the dollar signs I often see in my husbands eyes, or the new winter coat I may not buy this year (no worries, I have several) so we can afford gymnastics and religion classes, and birthday parties.
So today remember to say thanks to your parents and in-laws and try to have a lighter heart when you have to run back in the house for the water bottle your child forgot. It'll pay off in the end, we hope.