If you've read here for any time, you probably know we're crazy for Dave Ramsey! Six and a half years ago we took an FPU class. At the time, Sister was in my belly. Because of the poor choices we'd made, we were in a financial wreck. We knew we didn't want our children to make the same mistakes we had. We knew we wanted our children to know how to handle money - how to budget - the value of a dollar - the value of hard work - and how to live on less than they earned.
For Sister's fifth birthday, we gave her Financial Peace Jr. Much to our surprise and satisfaction, Little Man was eager to hop on board. We set the children up with a job chart consisting of certain jobs that are to be done in order to earn a commission (and if they don't do their jobs, they pay us...and of course, we still have jobs or chores they're required to do just because we're a family and we work together...).
So...last fall, Sister decided she wanted an American Girl doll. This would be her third. A generous cousin had given Sister Molly, along with her trunk and accessories. (These were from cousin's childhood.) The fam went in on Samantha for Christmas two years ago. So we told Sister that since those dolls are pretty pricey, if she wanted one, she would have to earn the money to buy it herself. Aren't we mean!
And earn the money is exactly what she did. She swept floors, watered plants, scrubbed down patio furniture, cleaned out the car, picked up a lot of pine cones and sticks, dusted, cleaned the toilet, put away other family members' clothes, etc., etc., etc. The girl worked and she worked hard. It took her nearly nine months. During that time, she refused to spend what she'd saved on anything else. Her eye was on the prize.
This was one of the most precious mornings I have ever spent with my little girl. She was radiant and quiet with excitement and anticipation. We entered the store, she spotted Kaya, the doll she'd saved for. She pointed her out and let me know "that's the one." Then she asked to walk around and see everything. And we did. She looked and looked and reached up and touched the dolls' dresses and accessories.
We made our way upstairs and spotted the beauty parlor! The Engineer (I'm calling T The Engineer from now on...bear with me.) suggested we have Molly and Samantha's hair done. Now, Molly's hair was lookin' pretty ragged, but Sam's, well, after watching the ladies working their magic, I figured we could tame her mane. So we signed Molly up for a little hair-fix.
We had some time to kill before Molly would be seen, so we headed back downstairs. The Engineer (who at this point had taken Little Man on their own adventure) had requested that we pick out matching clothes for Sister and one doll. Molly already had striped pajamas, so we picked striped pajamas for Sister.
We got Kaya and hopped in line. As we approached the register, I told the guy that Sister had worked her tail off to save every penny of the cost of Kaya. Sister handed him her envelope and he began counting.
Molly was up! (And why didn't I get a good before shot of her hair - you would NOT have believed the miracles they worked! She was the object of much laughter - in a kind hearted manner. She'd obviously been well loved.)
She cracked me up. I couldn't stop smiling. I was so proud of her! And she was so excited, but she was so quiet about it. So demure. She just kept smiling and saying, "I love you, Mama!"
Sister had chicken noodle soup with a giant piece of star toast in the middle, followed by garlic shrimp over a bed of pasta, broccoli, and tomatoes. (And she ate every bite of shrimp and all the veggies!) She shared her lunch with the girls. As she piled food on their plates, I cringed, but figured it couldn't be the first time a little girl has shared real lunch with her babies.
Our children are not perfect. All of us are rotten to our core. We have all had some pretty nasty, depraved temper tantrums. But that Saturday, I was so blessed by our experience! Sister did not - one. single. time. - ask for A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. We hadn't planned to do the salon. That was The Engineer's last minute idea. We didn't tell her ahead of time about the matching pajamas. All she knew was that she had earned and saved enough money to buy Kaya and we were there to do exactly that, and then to eat lunch together in celebration of her hard work. She was precious. An absolute delight. Her kindness and lack of the "gimmies" amazed me. She said please and thank you. She looked people in the eye. I tell you what - she took pride in her hard work and it was an incredible privilege to see her set a goal and sacrifice to get there. I was and am still very proud of her. It was a sweet day.
*Edited to add: Sister would like it mentioned that I bought Molly a new pair of glasses, since I'd broken her old pair.