I went to my GP to get the stitches removed from my self-inflicted stab wound (caution: do not use SHARP sewing scissors to cut tight plastic ties off new forks. BTW, if you happen to know who’s stealing my forks I’d appreciate the tip!) and he asked me the same question he asks every time I go: Thso how’ths the buthsy grandma doing thethse dayths? He has a very slight lisp but since he has climbed Everest, trekked to the South Pole, spent a year in Afghanistan teaching women to be mid-wives in order to reduce the 20% childbirth mortality rate, to name but a few of his exploits, I find the lisp rather endearing!
I replied I was having so much fun with my grandkids I wished it was a paying job! He looked at me with a look that said, I shouldn’t have to tell you this, and said, Some things are worth more than money. He was right. He shouldn’t have had to tell me that. Apparently I needed to be reminded Sometimes the Holy Spirit has to lisp.
In a few hours I will pick up my assistant from her other job (Grade Five student) and we will drive three hours north to spend the weekend with women at their annual retreat. In addition to helping me with en route navigation, room decoration, book table set-up, lugging, laughing, crying in the middle of the night because my snoring woke her up, reminding me to bring ear plugs, she will be doing her own ministry — balloon artistry.
A few minutes ago she came flying in the door laden with enough bags to rival any street dweller and plopped everything in my foyer before running to catch the school bus. I’m all packed, she declared, and ready to go as soon as you pick me up at noon! She was glowing.
Can you put a price tag on that?
Thirty-something years ago I walked away from a well-paying job because my baby needed her mommy. (dear working mothers, please do not hate me or think I am judging you. I am not. I believe the BEST mother is a HAPPY mother and some women need to work for their sanity and happiness. That crying baby I quit working for is now one of you. She is much happier and a better mom because she CAN work). I needed to be there for that crying baby. Even though it took 20 years to figure out why she cried all the time (serious food intolerances) I could not focus on my job when I knew that she was miserable at day care.
And in case you smugly think I had the luxury to quit work because my husband’s income was adequate, you are partly right. I had a husband. But he was a “mature” university student/country preacher in a church that gave us a house but no salary. If you are a single parent you can still dislike me, but please don’t. It hurts my feelings.
Being there for my crying baby was worth more than money. My “retirement plan” is that now-grown crying baby and her siblings. I am really really good to them and their progeny. Not every investment portfolio has a dollar amount as a bottom line.
Okay, let’s beat one last straw dog before I quit. My husband and I do have some RRSPs and we do own a home so our kids won’t have to take us in the day we retire! We do believe in the importance of being financially prepared for the future.
Maybe, like me, occasionally you need to be reminded of something you already know: Never measure your wealth in dollar amounts.