I pulled the blankets up over his little body and he looked at me with such innocence when he asked, "Mom, were you and dad always rich? Like....did you always have a king size bed and stuff?"
Not quite the bed time conversation that I expected to have, let alone the earth-shattering discovery that we were considered 'rich' in the eyes of our son.
I replied gently as not to crush his assumption that we are rich, "No, honey. Dad and I weren't always rich. When we were first married we slept in a full size bed just a little bigger than yours. Can you believe that? Can you picture me and dad all crammed into a little bed like that?"
Fits of giggles filled his small room cluttered with Legos, too many stuffed animals and books. A quick look around the room opened my eyes to what he saw.
We were rich.
He had everything he could possibly want...toys, games, cool clothes, shoes. You name it, he's probably got it.
As I kissed him good night, I spent some time thinking of that conversation. In fact, it's been on my mind for several days. Since then, we have had several good conversations about where we've come from because I think it's important.
We want to teach our kids that we accumulate material wealth over time, with loads of hard work. We didn't just wake up one morning in that king size bed and say "Oh, look at that! Where did that big screen TV come from? What about those cars?"
We want them to realize that mom and dad didn't always live in a nice house, in a great neighborhood with all the bells and whistles. We want them to know that we had to earn every single thing that they see in our home.
We hope to teach them that one day they will wake up and be full grown adults and there is not going to be someone there to hand them all their worldly desires. We want them to know that nothing in life will fall into their laps without hard work and a price tag.
So we have had the discussion that yes, we started out in a small house in the not-so-great part of town. We saved our money and bought things one at a time. We didn't just get married and puff! there was all this great stuff. I have explained over the last few days that there have been many times that we have had to save up to make a bigger purchase and sometimes we changed a plan or went without. We've had to make sacrifices to get where we are today. There was once a time that I was in fear that we would lose everything when our family business closed. But we stuck together, wiped our tears and started over.
Hopefully, someday they will understand that being rich doesn't always mean wealthy in a material sense either. I consider us 'rich' in love, spirit and gratefulness too. I can only hope that they learn being rich in a material sense doesn't always equal happiness. I would like to think that we lead a good example of being rich in a non-materialistic way. We all want the best for our kids and I hope that they can understand some day that hard work, sacrifice and determination can lead to wealth in ways other than TV's, cars and king size beds.
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