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Moments In Time

January 21, 2015
Connor working on some raised beds, late fall 2014

Connor working on some raised beds, late fall 2014

I recently read it takes roughly $1,000 per child per month for raising a child. I can’t help think that’s wrong. Of course, what area of the country one lives in is a factor.

At $1,000 per month, it’s roughly $198,000 invested in Connor so far. If only it was so clear cut as a business transaction. A financial detail, minus the hormones, temper tantrums, genuine laughs and grumbles about having to do some chore.

There are times I try to channel his mom, and hold insane conversations to the air of what she thinks is the next step. Somehow the situation turns out ok. Five years from now will he remember the frustration of being “nagged” when asked for the third time when he was going to *completely* do the dishes? (2 pans on the floor, two more on the stove and a bowl on his desk is not completely!)

Then he steps up and takes responsibility for cleaning bowls and bottles for the rabbits. Another week he’ll miss a health issue in an animal, and have the consequences of cleaning it up. He’s a teenager, and finding that difficult line of independent yet not. Pushing boundaries. Making decisions, finding the rewards or consequences of those decisions.

He’ll do writing assignments for school work that speaks of youth of today, peers, and the disrespect shown to adults. He engages people online who don’t know they’re talking with a teen. He’s always been talked to, not baby talked or talked at. He saw Helen work from early on not just on one day per year but every day.

He played sports and hung with kids, but there’s two friends here in small town Alabama that he hangs with. He wasn’t interested in clubs like 4-H. He’s benefited from routine and discipline, and even when he grumbles he’s had some serious life changes that were out of his control many times. In many ways he’s an old soul.

Wearing history during a museum field day.

Wearing history during a museum field day.

Getting this little thing going has been a struggle, and one he’s been a part of, been involved in and decided that long term he doesn’t want a career in agriculture. Too unstable, too much work. It’s a small consolation that if he has to, he can do it. The lessons will mean more in time.

He’ll remember the discipline, the sticking a job through completely and not taking short cuts. He’ll remember the unfairness of not feeling listened to. He’ll remember people leaving, and not so good things too.

Those are the things I’m not sure if it will leave a wound or a point of strength. It’s not unlike other parents, although the background may vary.

The $1,000 per month might cover food, housing, basic things. It might cover gifts and “can I have” or “do we have enough for..?” but the intangible is priceless. It’s far in excess of $198,000. It’s priceless. Hopefully, in time, he’ll see that is the true value.

I’d like to take him to Disneyland – he’s never been – and some other things that we don’t have the money to do. Precious time has passed for some things, and in a couple of years he’ll be too grown up to enjoy it in the same way. I wish there was a better path to making a living at this – to allow for those things before it’s too late. Some good memories would be good to implant too.

Before it’s too late.

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