Monday, February 11, 2013

Grandma's Purse

I'm a very organized, self-sufficient, make it work type of person. I grew up with a Dad who could fix about anything and I got enough of this from him that I've been able to McGyver ourselves out of more than a few tricky situations. I'm also a proud, stubborn, DO IT BY MYSELF kind of person who has a hard time admitting she can't always do it alone. Then these two came along to teach me a little big huge lesson.

In what felt like all of a sudden timing I went from a quiet mom with two kids to a crazy mom with four. In order to keep my sanity as I tried to transition into a stay at home mom routine, I frequently left the house with all four kids in tow. One of my most vivid/fuzzy outing memories was attempting a local fast food place during lunch. The only fast food place within five miles of our small town. There was no room for us in the playland. So I attempted to order, corral, feed, and entertain my kids in the main section of the restuarant. I believe the scene looked something like this.

2 screaming babies in car seats. 1 toddler jumping on the bench. 1 toddler trying to climb into my lap as I attempted to put the tiny straw into the juice box.

A very kind lady from one bench over came to ask if I needed help. I remember looking at my kids then back at her and replying "No we're fine. Thanks." I'm not sure if the tears dropped out of my eyes immediately or if I managed to wait until she'd turned her back. But I definately wondered how my perfect life had deterioated into this mess and why did I have to do it all alone. Somehow we managed to survive the outing and the older two even got a little time to play. Even now, many years later I look back and think. Help was right there, stupid. Why didn't you take it. Since that day I've tried really hard to learn my lesson and accept help when it is freely given. One of the benefits of that is Grandma's purse.

Being a mostly frugal person, generally when we vacation we don't buy snacks. We'll pack all sorts of treats into our traveling bag, as to not overspend on vacation food. I used to think who pays $4 for ice cream? Then I went on vacation with my kids and their grandma. On my husband's side of the family my kids are the only grandkids. And my husband's mother likes to spoil them, mostly within reason. On our first trip all together, every time I turned around they had a treat in their hand. After that trip, though I remained mostly clueless my kids all figured out the trick.

See Grandma saves money the whole time we're planning our trip and puts it in "her little purse." Then all the kids have to do is say, "Grandma I want some ice cream, do you have enough money in your little purse?" At first I was a little upset, these were my kids and I should be able to take care of them ALL BY MYSELF. And then Grandma explained about the saving up money part and the joy she feels from being able to share it with us and seeing the looks on their faces when she says yes. So the kids get to have a treat, and Grandma gets an extra smile. And though I fondly remember Grandma's little purse, I haven't thought about it in a while.

Life goes on and the kids grow. So far we've always have enough. We get by with coupons and thrift stores and help from loving family. Eventually it'd be super nice to be self-sufficient and rise about the land where every time you get a little bit of extra something breaks and takes all the money. As I see our not too distant future looming like a black cloud of expense over our heads, I was talking with my mom. She reminded me of the concept of "grandma's little purse." Sometimes you are blessed because your ship comes in just at the right moment, and you have enough. Sometimes you are blessed because the expense wasn't what you thought. And sometimes you are blessed because somebody put aside some money a long time ago just in case you needed some ice cream that day.

I know my Heavenly Father loves me because every time I need it, there is someone with a little purse full of kindness, help, comraderie, or comfort willing to share a piece of it with me.

I hope you take this small reminder to say "yes" the next time someone offers to share their little purse with you.

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