I’m shocked that you said you learned bad lessons about me as a child.
Do you remember when you were three years old and your grandpa would let you dump out all the coins he’d saved up in a coffee can? He showed you how to sort the quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, and stack my companions in piles so we could be wrapped and taken to the bank. And later he taught you to look for the wheat pennies and buffalo nickels and save one of every mint and year. He even got you hooked collecting my Susan B. Anthony coins and $2 bills.
Don’t you even remember that this collection is in a box in your basement, unloved, untouched?
And your grandma took you with her every January to the bank when she’d start her Christmas Club funds. She let you deposit $5 of me each month in an account meant just for you. Do you remember how easy it seemed to save up two rolls of nickels and two rolls of pennies to make that deposit? And then in October, you’d have $50 plus a little interest to shop the JC Penney toy catalog in time to have them shipped from the North Pole. Don’t you remember how much fun we had?
You were so good at math, even before you went to school, because of counting coins and being the banker at Payday. You saw how I added up every time you circled the game board. You also saw how your cousin Scotty always managed to make more of me from collecting Monopoly rent on the ton of cheaper properties than you ever did owning Park Place.
You could have learned something from that, but instead you just got mad because you were used to winning when he wasn’t around.
I understand why you didn’t want to hang on to the money your dad gave you after high school graduation. You’d just met him and it was a pretty traumatic experience. But didn’t it feel good to buy that video camera for your mom and see how much joy it brought her? She filmed tape after VHS tape of deer wandering out for breakfast, and Blackwater Falls in every season.
I never abandoned you. Even when you took advantage of me after college. I remember the first time you spent way more than you had. It was your 21st birthday and you hadn’t gotten a single card or phone call. So you went to the electronics store and bought a Kenwood 5-disc CD changer on credit.
Funny thing was, as soon as you got home from the store, feeling elated but guilty, your mom and grandma called to wish you happy birthday. So you felt even more guilty.
Truth is, you spent most of your time trying to ignore me, like I was a pesky little brother who got in your way. Every time you visited home, grandma would slip $10 or $20 of me into your coat pocket, and you would feel guilty about that, too. She’s gone now, but you know if she could she’d be doting on your son the same way.
And he’d love it.
Things have been better between us for a couple years now, and I hope that continues. I only ever wanted to make you happy. Still… I wish you’d check in on that coin collection in the basement. I have a feeling your son might like to hear a story or two about his great grandfather.
Your wanna-be friend, Money
Did you write your own letter to money last week? At the time I thought that one was pretty hard… emotionally… but writing money’s reply brought up a flood of gorgeous memories I’d all but forgotten.
If you’ve been looking for a way to get to know yourself better, to have a conversation with your subconscious, or just break whatever writer’s block chains you think have been binding you, I strongly encourage this 2-part exercise.
And if you’ve been feeling out of sorts in your relationship with money… then this might just be the breakthrough you need to get yourself on a first-name basis.
I’d love to hear about what you learn. Just click Reply or Comment on the blog. Or if you’re ready to take the next step on your writing journey with a book coach, compassionate editor, and publishing cheerleader, by all means, stop waiting! Today is the beginning of your Year of the Book. Email me now!
Cheers to new partnerships!