Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Meaning Matters More Than Money

Last week, DD2 turned seventeen.  For her birthday, there was no big party.  No decorations festooning the house.  No extravagant gifts. Was she bummed out by this?

No.  She declared it an "awesome" birthday.

I had made her a red velvet cake, which is pretty much her favorite kind of cake (it might be tied with cheesecake).

I had bought Blue Moon ice cream, which is also a favorite of hers, but we have it rarely--only a few ice cream manufacturers make it and truthfully not everyone in our house even likes it.  (I had seen it on sale in late August, bought a carton and hid it in the chest freezer so she would be surprised when it was served with her birthday cake in October).

For gifts, she was given a teacup with matching saucer (she collects tea cups) that had been found at Goodwill for a grand total of $1.99, a finger-knitted scarf in her school colors--made by her sister from a $5 skein of ruffled yarn DD1 had laying around, an apron and a pillowcase that I had made for her out of wolf-printed fabric--maybe 1.5 yards at $6.99 a yard.  Wolves are her favorite animal, you see, and they are what she hopes to someday be employed researching (she has already applied to, and been accepted at, two colleges to study Wildlife Ecology & Management).



close up of fabric

Most seventeen year olds these days would not be so excited about a homemade cake, a carton of ice cream, and gifts that represented an outlay of less than $20 cash.  But what made these items so great wasn't the dollars spent.  It was the meaning behind them: favorite, favorite, something chosen specifically with her in mind (even if it did come from a thrift store), something handmade by a sibling, something handmade by Mom.  Everything saying to DD2:  "You are loved. We know you.  We care about you.  We did this for you because of how much you matter to us."

Because when you get down to it, how much you perceive yourself as meaning to others vastly outweighs the importance of how much money they spend on you.

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