So do I start this by admitting to you all out there that I'm a thief? An idea thief? Well, I am. The idea for this post didn't come from me, although I'm tweaking it to reflect MY life, MY thoughts and MY children. So maybe I'm just a partial thief?
Not too long ago, someone calculated what it costs to raise a child from birth to age 18. I'm not exactly clear on just who "someone" is, or where they collected their data, but the number they came up with was $160,140. Now, I've got two kids, so for me to raise them both to adulthood (or as close as we can get), it will cost me over $320,000. Keep in mind that this number does NOT include college tuition or any thing after they move out of my house. At that point, they are on their own, and can begin saving for their own kids.
Sheesh. That number is enough to cause me to freak the heck out. But if you break it down a bit, it actually comes out to about $24/day, which seems a bit more reasonable, right? Still, it certainly explains why Coach and I are still renters rather than homeowners, and why we will never be able to count ourselves among the upper class. It did get me to wondering, though, just what that $24/day is getting me here.
I got to have babies that I never expected to have.
I get to see animated snapshots of what Coach looked like when he was younger.
I get to fall into fits of laughter anytime I want to, and always when I need to.
I get hugs every day, and more often several times a day. Big, giant bear hugs, that smell like sweaty boy and leave me covered in red baseball field dirt or football field grass.
I get a fan club that always requests concerts and encore performances. They even sing back up on occasion!
I get to hang original artwork, depicting battle scenes or wildlife on my office walls, and every Christmas I'm gifted with the most beautiful piece of jewelry that $2.00 can get you at the school gift sale.
I have good reasons to watch Disney movies, read books about psycho butts taking over the world, and singing along to Veggie Tales songs.
I get to feel thirty feet tall, and for nothing more than spending an afternoon hanging out with them, or watching movies late at night with them after dad's gone to bed.
I have front row seats to all the best ball games Little League can provide, and permanent seats on the 50 yard line during football season. I get to be someone's biggest cheerleader, and have them happy I'm there.
For the bargain price of $320,000 I get to be a kid for a while longer. I get to keep believing in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. I get to dress up on Halloween, color Easter eggs and play with Sparklers on the 4th of July. I get to keep making wishes when I blow out the candles on my birthday cake or throw pennies in the fountain.
Yes, there are difficult and awkward moments. Jock itch and personal self attention conversations we have to have. Girls who need to be pried off of my son. But there are also the moments when these boys tell me they love me, and wouldn't choose any other mom in the world, even if they could. These boys give me more love than I can ever, ever hold; and certainly more than I deserve.
If I hadn't had kids, I might never have had someone look at me and think I was the most beautiful fairy princess in the whole world, or learn that I could function on less than two hours' sleep a night. I wouldn't have discovered that running barefoot in the grass is even better when you're a mom, or that flying a kite is still amazing when you run with the wind.
I get to help develop two of the next generation's young men. Two young men who will be respectful to others, empathetic to all, and just good people with hearts that overflow with generosity and love. I get the opportunity to teach them how to be good husbands and fathers. Good brothers and good friends.
For only $320,000 I get the most amazing, awesome, inspiring sons a mother could ever, ever have.
It's quite possible that I should be paying someone for this. Because really? I'm getting the better end of this deal. I may never be able to save enough money to get rich in the wallet, but where it really counts I'm fabulously wealthy.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.