My daughter said to me recently that her father had a nice, pretty, new (new to him) BMW and she wanted to know why I couldn't buy one. "We live differently," I said. Well, she added with a bit of resentment, it seemed that her dad and step-mom had everything they wanted.
"Why, no! No, they don't!" I told her.
"What do you mean?"
"They don't have you and your brother. You two live with me. Daddy gets to see you for visits, but you live here. I really have everything I really need, and you and your brother are my riches."
This is not the first time that I have had this conversation with her. She is young, and therefore unwisely measures wealth in tangible items such as fancy gadgets and luxury automobiles. We live far more simply than her father--this house has one television set. No one here owns an iPad. Our cars are each as old as our youngest children (about 5 and 11). I complain that I would like a new truck with one of those fancy DVD players that come mounted to the ceiling, but really, the truck runs well, so why not keep it going. While this isn't to say that I wouldn't mind a giftcard to a clothes store or bookstore or greater financial freedom, I am pretty happy knowing that we live within our means. Our long term goal, which can only be attained by continual financial caution, is homeownership. But aggravations of renting aside, this home or any home is only that because of one thing: the family that lives in it.
One day, my daughter will come to understand that, like the wonderful proverb from the Bible states about a good wife, she and her brother have a price above rubies. They are my greatest wealth, everything I have has been vested in them. I feel that reward every time my son bounds down the front sidewalk and leaps into my arms singing my name. And I feel it again when I bend over the sleeping form of my pre-teen daughter and remember how she has changed since her precious, pudgy infancy. I know it for sure when I see my step-children embrace my birth-children.
Richness, yes. For all the needs and wants in the world, these days, I am a wealthy woman.