Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Life Has Become a Series of Visa Ads

As a result of the tanking (tanked) economy, I find myself mentally composing Visa commercials all day long. That is, I think about the price of everything. Luckily, there are some priceless things as well. For instance, early yesterday morning I ran out to my minivan with air freshener, Windex, and a garbage bag. There was a chance I would be driving the carpool of parents who had volunteered to chaperone the fourth grade field trip, and the minivan was a disaster. My morning tally went something like this:
cleaning products used to desperately make car decent- $5
cost for ticket to museum- $5
ingredients to pack brown bag lunches for my children and myself- $8
last minute fill up with gas- $38
watching the Mom (not me) who ended up driving the carpool hastily throw sports equipment, empty water bottles, birthday presents, and gift wrap in her minivan's trunk to make room for the parents, thus assuring me I'm not alone- priceless.

Not every facet of my life has that kind of satisfying priceless moment at the end. Raising kids and feeding them, signing them up for sports and activities is expensive and exhausting. It's getting harder and harder and yet more necessary each day to trim the fat. So, although I cannot stop that running tally in my head which adds up the costs of sneakers, books, bathing suits, juice boxes,cold cuts, school supplies, and prescriptions, I'm also trying to find and appreciate the priceless moments. Some are touching like the note my six year old son slipped under my door this week that says, "Huw loves you? Me" Some are the stuff of family memories like our current nightly read aloud from The Hobbit. And some may cost me my dignity but are truly priceless to my children such as when my kids had friends over to play this weekend. Sure my internal adding machine noted the cost of goldfish crackers, ice pops, and pants ruined by mud in the backyard, but my heart will always treasure the looks of shock and delight as well as the belly laughs from my older son as his friend when we were playing Scrabble and I laid down F, R, and T around an open A. Let's just say I didn't spell "frat," and it was priceless!

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