Wednesday, March 24, 2010

They won't remember, but. . .

. . .when my kids were little, I used to tell them that we weren't poor, we were only temporarily broke. It wasn't true. I was a mother who, with only a high school education, worked during the day at a real estate company and at night at a cocktail lounge. My mother lived with us and took care of my children while I worked, or it would have been so much more difficult.

They won't remember, but I used to work a few hours waiting tables on Christmas day -- after all the presents were opened -- in order to make extra money in tips. It was a quick $50.00 because people who came for dinner at the Tiffin Inn on South Colorado had to wait in the bar for their tables. It would only be five or ten minutes before they were called in to dinner and I always got a generous tip with each turnover.

As the years passed, we didn't stay "broke." I learned a lucrative career while going to school and earning a degree in English. It took me thirty years to get it, but I certainly appreciated the value of perpetual learning and how you can get yourself educated even if your parents can't afford to pay for it.

Last night we celebrated one of my children's birthday -- I won't say which one and it made me think. We went to a very posh restaurant, had a delicious dinner and a perfect wine to accompany it. My son, the birthday boy, paid for the entire group and there was no embarassing scramble for the bill. It was quite a change from those days when a pizza and a coke for all of us at Shakey's took a big bite out of my budget. But I believed it was good for the soul to treat oneself occasionally, to release money periodically, even if you don't have much.

I could be wrong, but I don't think those kids ever thought of themselves as poor and therefore they all grew up to become successful in their individual endeavors and, yes, make a lot of money. But they don't take it for granted and they are very generous with it. I give myself some credit for that because they've learned money is not something to hang onto.

Life is good. Don't think yourself into poverty.

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