Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Lowly Dollar

The other day I was thinking about something that happened years ago. Odd how things pop in there from time to time.
As the story goes, when the kids were little we never had any money(go figure) to do anything when they were on spring or summer vacation. So I would try to find ways to entertain them, like taking them to a different park to play or maybe a different school just so that they could try out their equipment. It wasn't much but the kids liked it. I also, had another little girl that I watched a lot. We were friends with her parents and well, child care wasn't real high on their list. They would leave her with her older sibling but that sibling would just leave or have friends over. So I kept the little girl for all breaks, there would be times where she didn't leave for weeks and I'm not exaggerating. I did it just because I loved the little girl. (And this story is in no way to gain praise from y'all, you know I'm a sinner not a saint!)
One of the little things that I would do was to save up change and then take the kids to the dollar store(the everything is a buck one). It wasn't much but it was an outing. So the deal was each one of them would get 2 things each. And we spent a couple of hours pouring over everything. It always boiled down to having to choose from three things. I don't know why but that's just how the dollar store worked.
I wasn't going to let them talk me into three things each. First, I never had extra money to pay for more. And who really needs more than two cheap toys from the dollar store.
Every time after our little excursion, they would come home and play with their new toys(using the word toys vaguely, more like toxic junk). The mother of the little girl stopped over and they all showed off their new prizes. The little girl told her mom how she narrowed it down from three to two and why she chose the toys that she did. She did not say it because she wanted the other toy just how she came to her conclusion. All three of them happily left the room to play with their junk toys.
That was when the unexpected happened. The mother was instantly mad at me. Boy, I didn't see that one coming. She said that it was just a dollar and why wouldn't I just give it to her! So I told her that I only had enough money to get six things and pay tax on them. That really didn't help matters any. She honest to God, didn't understand why I was being so stingy because it was just ONE DOLLAR. I told her that she was welcome to take her daughter and drive back to the store and buy it for her. In the end, she left in a huff( but still let me watch her child for the rest of the summer).
Fast forward to today. That little girl is 19.  I see her once in a while and she whispers in my ear that the only happy times of her childhood were with me. Those words were a huge gift to me.
Her parents are divorced, the house that they lived in has been foreclosed on. They ran up so much credit card debit that they filed for bankruptcy even though they both have really good jobs. I won't judge them because I know better than anyone how hard life is.
Which brings me back to that one dollar that caused so many problems. To her it had no value at all, to me it had a lot. Maybe one dollar is the way to change your future.
Thanks for stopping over,


slugmama said...

Obviously that little girl's mom never learned the value of a dollar!

I know people like this in my own family. They have no inkling of the value of money nor have any sense of honor. They won't think twice about expecting YOU to give them money or pay for something for them or having YOU loan them money, but OTOH, they have no urgency to pay back debts and don't understand when YOU expect them to actually repay a loan. If I owe someone money, it eats at me until I get them paid back. I don't understand people who don't honor their debts.

I am thankful you were placed into this young girl's life...I doubt that THAT was an accident of the universe. But it's so sad that your times with her were her only happy memories of growing up. Hopefully it's enough to have shown her how to be more responsible with her finances than her parents. ;-)

Mark said...

Goodness SA, I've never seen this side of you before. In fact, I'm not even sure how to comment. Maybe this is a guest writer?
Either way, I'm also glad that you were in this gir's life and that, more importantly, she "gets it". Meaning, that her parents were/are total losers. Now hopefully, he Mom realizes the same.
Your Friend, m.

SonyaAnn said...

sluggy-I really hope that something else but bad habits have rubbed off on her. I don't understand how people can be that rude. Or how you could demand me to watch your child every summer for years and then want me to pay for everything for your kid. I just never got it.

SonyaAnn said...

Mark-I know it was like a momentary loss of judgment on my part. Smart ass. When I was a kid, my nickname was little shit and I went by Samuel too. I think you should be named smart ass from here on out.
And I didn't want to say it but they are losers, you are just a bit more blunt than me!

McVal said...

wow. Her mother was nuts. I'm glad you were in her life because it sounds like she learned a lot from you!
I know the feeling you got when the 19 year old told you that. I have a little 4 year old in my Sunday school class. On accasion he comes up to me and asks if he can tell me a secret. "I love you teacher!"
Talk about a heart melting moment... I'll bet your heart grew 3 sizes hearing her tell you that.
Not that you're a grinch!!!

SonyaAnn said...

McVal-Yes, I did for that moment feel as if I had made a difference in someone's life. It was nice and probably the only time that will ever happen!

Donna Freedman said...

You will never regret having given that child the love and care she so obviously needed.
On the other hand, you may regret not having kicked her mom's ass up around her shoulder blades.
Bless you, my friend.

SonyaAnn said...

Donna Freedman-You know you called that one right. Her mother needed her ass whooped. The mother also, moved into a retirement community so her daughter now has nowhere to live. It makes me sick. She wants her to go to college but won't help her in the least. I should go kick her ass, wanna help?

Donna Freedman said...

@SonyaAnn: Thanks for the invite, but isn't Illinois a "three strikes" state? ;-)

SonyaAnn said...

Donna-Umm how many strikes do you have?
Start the day with a laugh, thank you!

capri said...

Thank you for this article...I was a girl like this, the house wasn't a home or a safe place to be and I spent my time at friends' houses. It wasn't about money, but just relaxing, hanging out, being with people who liked me and didn't want anything from me. So thank you, and every mother of my friends.

SonyaAnn said...

capri-I did it because I knew what it was like to live in a house like that.
Thank you for coming to see me!