Saturday, October 11, 2008

An expensive habit

My dad playing shoestore with Joel. Something we enjoyed when we were kids we now have passed on to our own. How special to see my kids just as delighted as we were to do this.

I've been a mother for over 11 years. One of the things I really love about motherhood and family is the way, over time, that each family unit settles into its own way of doing things, its own routine and tradition. The ideas for what have become "the way we do things" have come from books, magazines, Mark's and my own family backgrounds, talks with other parents, and every once in a while, we dream up some original concept that seems to work.Our family volunteering at a nursing home.We LOVE to take walks together, especially when ice cream is at the destination.
A good old-fashioned family work day is one of my favorite traditions

Sometimes our certain way of doing things gets us into trouble, because perhaps when the tradition was conceived, we had not looked into the future and "counted the cost". I'm thinking of this today because an example of what I'm describing took place just this week.

When Sam was just a little guy, we read a Franklin book about losing teeth. I can't remember the whole story, but one of the characters says that his parents give him a book each time he loses a tooth. When I read that, I jumped on the idea. How perfect, I thought. Our tooth fairy would slip books under pillows at night instead of a few coins. I guess I had imagined a little $3.00 I-Can-Read paperback for my Kindergartner. It WAS a fun plan, and both boys have had so much fun anticipating the next loose tooth and the accompanying book.

This week, though, Sam lost a tooth. I think it had been 3 years since the last one, and I believe he was about to give up hope. What has happened in 3 years is that Sam's reading level and interest have changed drastically (as it should have), and a few dollars won't buy any kind of book that he would appreciate. AND on top of that, French books are decidedly more expensive than their English counterpart. When Sam told us (conveniently) on the day after he lost his tooth, that the next book in the series he had been reading had come out that week, we decided to bite the bullet and part with the $15 dollars to get it for him. After all, it's a book and, in our opinion, there aren't too many better ways to spend that amount of money. Mark brought the book home, I wrote in the front as is also our custom, and took it upstairs to hide it under his pillow. While I was in his room, I just decided to look at the other book of the series that he owned, and much to my chagrin, I saw that it was the SAME book. (His other copy is signed by the author!) It's not like we could return it--I had just 2 minutes before written in it! to the store again to spend more money to get the right one. I was so disgusted with myself for not having checked before destroying my chances of returning it.
As Sam would say, "This has been a moment of....duh!!!"

I wonder what other traditions we should look into modifying or completely wiping off the slate. From the grim reports about our economy, maybe we should re-evaluated any custom that involves cash!!