Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Adventures with Kids

There are two cute little baby girls that live near us. One has bright, glowing red hair. The other already wears glasses. Then our nephew and his wife just had their first baby a few days ago. New babies remind me of an essay I posted over a year ago. I’m not the author, although I invested in some “editorial license.” Pass it around.

A Bargain at Twice the Price

Our government—bless it’s heart—recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18. Only $160,140 for a middle income family! Woo-hoo! Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition!

For those with kids, that figure sometimes leads to wild fantasies about “…all the money we could have banked if not for [insert your child's name here].” Gong! For others, that number might confirm their decision to remain childless. Gong! Then there are those who think the best financial advice is “Don't have children if you want to get rich." Gong ~ong ~ong! All Wrong!

$160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. That’s only $8,896.66 year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. A mere $24.44 a day! Just a dollar and two cents an hour. What a bargain!

What do you get for a dollar an hour?

Naming rights—first, middle, and last.

Whispers from angels.

Giggles under the covers every night.

More love than your heart can hold.

Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.

Endless wonder over rocks, ants, worms, dandelions, clouds, flowers and warm cookies.

A hand to hold, usually covered with jam.

A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sandcastles, playing catch and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.

Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

Glimpses of God every day.

For about $25 a day, you never have to grow up. You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, build Tupperware towers—and never stop believing in Santa Claus.

For just $171 a week, you have an excuse to keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to movies and wishing on stars. You get to guess the answer to riddles you yourself told many years ago.

And for $741 a month, you get to frame hand-made rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas. You’ll unwrap hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and open cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

You get to be a hero for less than $8900 a year just for retrieving a Frisbee from the garage roof, for taking the training wheels off the bike; for removing a splinter, filling the wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets a treat after the game.

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. But who’s counting? In a child’s eyes, you rank right up there with God. You have all the power to kiss an "ow-ee" and make it feel all better. You can scare away monsters from under the bed. You instinctively know how to patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, go tromping through the wilderness and read magic right out of a book and onto a pillow.

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I'm Snow White, Grandmother!

You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, human sexuality, science, literature and fine arts that no college can match. You get a front row seat to history to hear the first word, to cheer the first step, to let go and let them go on the first day of school.

Then there’s "Mom, look! I caught my first fish!" Her first bra, the first date, the first time behind the wheel, the first grandchild—and then you get to hear about it all over again for the first time. "Guess what, Pee-paw. I went swimming in the deep end!"

Suddenly you’re immortal. A new branch grows on your family tree; and if you're lucky, many more branches quickly follow.

Here’s the best part: because of you, one day they, too, will love without counting the cost.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”—Jesus

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