Say No to Say Yes.
When I was growing up, “Boy, I don’t have any money” was the standard and expected response to any variation of question that began with, “Mom, can I have….” It didn’t matter if it was $1 for the store house on the 2nd floor or the senior class ring. (which I never got) It wasn’t going to happen. But I knew, unless it was an especially stressful work-week, it didn’t hurt to ask. What I didn’t know, or more like I didn’t fully understand, was the pressure my mother was under as a single mom of two boys. She worked a full time job at the same place for almost 20 years and had several part time jobs scattered throughout my childhood.
I didn’t go with the school to Washington DC, my brother and I missed Space Camp and we never had the big “blow your mind” birthday parties. We did what we had to do and didn’t really think a whole lot more about it. In hind sight with two kids of my own, I’m not sure how she made it happen.
Fast forward 25 years. (I’ll give you a second…) and I’m in a similar boat but with a different crew. I’m married with two kids in a single income home. I’ve adopted my own brand of expense dodging (“Oh sweetie, I don’t have money for that.” or “Did you bring your money? No. Oh, that’s too bad.”) Why? Because we have fallen into this mindset that “Memories are better than Experiences.”
My daughter has been to New York, and St. Thomas. My son has had dinner and breakfast with Mickey Mouse – twice, all before they were 4. I’ve lost count of the “Pancakes with Pop” and “Mommy Lunchtimes” we’ve been to. It’s all about the memories.
As luck would have it, all four birthday’s and Christmas fall within 3 months of each other. So, we’ve learned to streamline Nov-Jan like a boss. Gifts can’t be the main point of Christmas morning because it wouldn’t last very long. And turns out that if kids aren’t forced fed 11 months of “You’ve got to have this!!!” they don’t become vicious, greedy, covetous creatures of the night. We try to temper the “Daddy, I want that” with a well placed “Oh, buddy we probably won’t be getting that.” Might as well keep it real. We even limit the stores they go to. I can guarantee you my kids have been in more Goodwills than Walmarts.
If we want to reward the kiddos we give them each $6 and head out to the local dollar store. When the dollars are gone so are we. And you know what, they love it. The boy gets a lesson in “Looks like you have 7 items – which one do you want to put back?” and the girl has a to make the painstaking decision of “2 small toys or 1 big one.” We have a blast. It’s small way we turn a moment about getting into a moment about being – being together.
But we don’t keep it confined to them. We (Mr. & Mrs. We Don’t Have Money For That) “miss out” on lots of things. We don’t / can’t make it to the latest event, shindig, or outing because, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend a vacation in the tropics than to pay $75 for a couture dinner that requires a post meal snack.
I’ve missed almost every major opening movie night, I have to skip that awesome Groupon you found and that random red line on my TV is just a part of the family now. Why? Because we say “No” so we can say “Yes.” We say no to the common things so we can say yes to the special things.
And this is as special as it gets. As we approach the end of 2015, the money we didn’t have for “that” will finally go to “this.” The bitter “No, I’m sorry…” has become the sweet smell of the first ever Nesbitt European Vacation #EuroNes
We are headed out on a 5 city, 10 day European Vacation for the books and we couldn’t be more excited. We’ve planned and researched for months and all the delayed gratification has finally payed off. What’s waiting for you on the other side of “No”? What could happen if you said no to the ordinary and waited for the extraordinary? Don’t trade the everyday experiences of the now for the once in a lifetime memories of tomorrow.
“He that can have Patience, can have what he will”– Benjamin Franklin
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
Don’t give up on what’s waiting for you.
Say “No” to say “Yes”
In regards to the cat. sigh… It was literally the best visual illustration I could find of “saying no.” So, this round goes to you Cats. Well done. Well done indeed.