Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Collect Moments Not Things

They were seated at the table next to ours.  Two little chubby-faced kids stood happily waiting for their parents to help them into their chairs.  They each held a little gift sack.  Once they were seated and their drinks had been ordered the little boy eagerly held up his gift sack for the older woman to take.  A huge smile spread across his little face.

"Here, grandma! I made it all by myself!"  The little girl sitting across from him said, "Nuh, uh!" Her voice echoed through the restaurant and her mother shushed her with a smile. "Well," the boy said hesitantly, "Mom helped a little."

The grandmother opened each gift with a smile and said, "Oh, this is lovely."  Two little sets of brown eyes beamed up at her as they watched, so happy she liked what they had worked so hard to make for her.  "Thank you," she said to them.

She then turned to the children's mother and said, "Where are the rest of my gifts?"  The woman looked confused and said, "Those are your gifts, mom."  Her mother looked offended.

"I don't understand," She said.  "It's Mother's Day."

Her daughter forced a smile and said, "Yes, it IS Mother's Day and the kids worked hard to make you something special."

The grandmother smiled at her grandchildren who were still smiling up at her. She leaned closer to her daughter and said, "When I was your age I made sure to get my mother something good for Mother's Day.  I mean, I'm paying for all of your meals and all I get are some cheap crafts made by my grandchildren?"

A look of hurt spread across the daughter's face.  She looked her mother in the eye and said, "Mom, you know Ben isn't working right now and I'm only working part time.  I'm not even getting anything for Mother's Day. We're just thankful we can make ends meet for now.  I'm sorry you don't like your gifts. We did think of you.  The kids worked hard on these gifts."

She turned to her kids and said, "Come on, guys, let's go."  The children began to protest and she said, "Well, we can't afford it and we don't want to make grandma pay for our meals."  As she walked away she turned to her mother and said, "Happy Mother's Day," as tears filled her eyes.

Our society puts too much emphasis on material things.  We see it every day.  People say, "Well, it's easy for people to say they don't need money if they don't have it.  They don't know what they're missing."  Sure, it's great to have nice things, but those nice things shouldn't define our character.  They shouldn't overshadow who we are and we certainly shouldn't expect them. We should be happy that people think enough of us to do something nice, not get offended because we feel they didn't spend enough money on us.

I recently saw pictures from another country where people had very little.  Their children had one, maybe two toys, they were living in filth and yet, in the pictures, they were smiling.  Sure, money gets tight from time to time, but things could be so much worse. When money gets tight it seems more stressful just because, in our world, money is your measure of success.  It's sad, really.

We should all try to collect moments, not things.  How rich our lives would be!

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