Sage’s friend Emery spent the entire weekend with us last week, and there was nary a dull moment (or a silent one) during the entire time.
She taught me a valuable lesson about money management when she spent almost all her money ($4.00 in a little plastic purse) on candy at the Variety Store. I reminded her repeatedly that we were about to go to thrift sales, so she might want to keep some of her money. She turned away from the register, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “I LIKE wasting money!”
Who was I to argue with such clear and deeply held values?
So she spent all but eighteen cents. As I had foreseen, she then fell in love with a stuffed bear at the first thrift sale. She tried unsuccessfully to negotiate it down from $1.50 to fifteen cents.
“Ah ha!” I thought. “NOW she’ll learn a valuable lesson! Fueled by her disappointment, she’ll become a prudent money manager from now on!”
Foolish, foolish me.
She found the Free Box.
Much to the incredulity and entertainment of the thrift sale operators, she dove eagerly in, pausing only to demand a second shopping bag since she quickly filled her first one. Nobody present had ever witnessed so much excitement about items that were, essentially, junk.
She got an array of knick knacks, a pair of flip flops that (kind of) fit her, and a pair of size six women’s dress shoes.
“Why are you getting THOSE?” I asked her, knowing even before she responded that she would have an iron-clad reason.
“They’re for my mom,” she said. “For her birthday.”
“Will those even FIT your mom?” I asked incredulously.
“Well, if they don’t, I’ll grow into them eventually,” she replied without missing a beat.
I realized the futility of further protest, so we came home with several bulging plastic bags even though I cut her off (and Sage, whom she had converted to the joy of the Free Box) after the second thrift sale.
Later that evening, my husband Paul decided to surprise the kids by making Jiffy Pop on the stove. They gathered around him, the angel wings that Emery had insisted on wearing all day fluttering in her excitement.
Unfortunately, the Jiffy Pop turned out to be more of a Jiffy Smolder, yielding very little edible popcorn. Fortunately, our air popper saved the day.
The kids went to bed with bellies full of popcorn and heads full of Free Boxes. And that, I suppose, is what childhood is all about.