26 August 2009

Repurposing, Sort Of

Last Friday I eyed the four glass jars of coins on our kitchen counter for what seemed like the millionth time. I suppose that the 999,999th time I looked at them, I still had a tolerance for the space they claimed, and the general unsightliness. But the millionth time - well, you know the feeling. I was done. I'd had it.

When Jesse and I were young (read: childless) we used to save our coins up with small goals in mind. A special dinner out, a new toy, or a very welcome hotel stay in the midst of a two-week camping trip. We'd guess how much was in them, and often the total was even more than anticipated. It feels like free money, in a way. You don't really notice the little bits here and there.

This last batch of coins was unappropriated. We'd vaguely mentioned putting it in savings for the kids, but perhaps neither of us wanted to allocate the coins to something so proper. But I guess when one becomes a parent, certain things seem harder to justify.

So Friday I went to my bank with the kids in tow and made four trips from the car to the bank counter with a baby on my hip, a toddler in hand, and a heavy glass jar of coins carefully balanced. The teller patiently carried each jar to the vault, and the children waited somewhat less patiently in the lobby while the jingle of coins in counting machine echoed across the tiles. Zoe begged for me to explain over and over again. Why were they taking our coins? Would they care for them? Would they count them? Would we get them back? Why?

Twenty minutes later, the teller appeared with an envelope of assorted foreign coins (Canada, Singapore, Brazil) and a clump of nickels gummed together with what looked like melted candy. The sum deposited, we left, bereft of our coins and with empty glass jars.

The money eventually went to pay for a replacement 50mm lens for the camera, and the rest was frittered away on various things. Okay, so my point is not where the money went. It's more about perspective. For me, a little lesson was learned. It became a wee bit less about the money (dinner at The Kitchen! or a pedicure! or three hundred chocolate truffles!) and more about the journey. And a sweet voice, asking why.


MUM said...

That little Zoe, I am sure she still has 100 :why's" about that adventure. I know it is hard but try to love the "why's" she is so curious to know and as much as you can try to answer. A day will come when she will value her friends opinion much more that yours "for a while" and she will live on those answers that you are giving her now that answer "WHY." and (the answer to Why ) will see her through the times she wants to be so independent she doesn't want you to tell her all the answers, and you will treasure every little "Why" you have ever answered because in her heart she will know the answer and"the answer to why' will carry her through.

Lesley said...

too sweet about Zoe wanting to know who would take care of the coins!!!

Naturalearthfarm said...

What a sweet post. We save our coins in a canning jar as well. For us, it is a little extra at Christmas time - we don't spend/shop too much as most of our gifts are handmade, but each child does get one store bought little special something. The children also see the jars filling and the benefits of saving over the year.

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