Sunday, August 5, 2007

Don't Stay Home

"If you ain't got no money, take your broke *** home."-Glamorous by Fergie

That's my favorite song lyric right now. It cracks me up every time I hear it. Hubby and I sing it all the time, laughing at how being broke has never kept us at home. No matter the state of our finances we have always found a way to take a vacation or a few road trips each year. We both grew up with parents that took us on summer vacations, and it's a tradition that has stuck with us. We didn't take a big vacation this summer because we are headed to Florida in October. However, we've been on three road trips, two of them involving amusement parks. We've just returned from St. Louis where we spent a full day shopping for school clothes and a long, hot day at Six Flags. We probably could have put the money toward more practical things, but I'm glad we didn't because Teen Angel brought a friend who blessed me with a reminder that I'm not nearly as broke as I think I am.

After a day of roaming the mall Friday we hit an O'Charley's for dinner. Best Bud struggled over picking her dinner and finally admitted she had never been to O'Charley's before. I thought that was a little odd until she revealed later that she had never even been to an amusement park. Her family has never been able to afford it. She is fourteen years old. I've been aware of their financial struggles for a long time, but I didn't realize how much it had cut into her childhood experiences. That's because she doesn't let it get her down. She's honest about her situation but she bounces back from each disappointment in a way that prevents you from seeing how deeply it runs. I knew she doesn't have an iPod or any of the other techno accessories the teens arm themselves with these days. I knew she doesn't get to spend much money on clothing and that her shopping money this weekend came from her babysitting job. I also knew she had never been on a big vacation, but I had no idea she had never even been to an amusement park. Never been on a roller coaster. Never spent the day running from one wild ride to the next. Never bought a $6 corn dog or a $4 soda. Never thrown up from too much heat and too much spin. Never won a fuzzy hat by hammering a plastic frog into a lilly pad. She literally had no idea what to expect at Six Flags the next day.

I lost my appetite. I suddenly realized what a big deal this was for her and why her grandma was so glad we were taking Best Bud with us. My child has been to more amusement parks than I can count and has traveled to beautiful places in the Caribbean. She knows how to get around in an airport, eats exotic foods and mingles easily with kids from other countries. And yet, one of her friends hasn't had the opportunity to ride a roller coaster. Wow. I was determined that Best Bud would have the best time possible. It was fascinating experiencing the park through her eyes. It was like taking a toddler to the park. Everything was new. She was scared to ride rides, which required some negotiation between her and Teen Angel because my child is a daredevil and wants to ride only the fast, scary stuff. Hubby and I spent the day in the water park, periodically meeting up with the girls. We let them run and stomp and do what they wanted. It was a full day.

My pockets were pretty empty when we came home today, but I'm glad we went. I hope Best Bud gets to see more of the world in the coming years. If I won the lottery tonight, one of the first things I'd do is take her to Disney World or maybe on a cruise. I'm glad we didn't keep our broke *** home. Maybe it gave her an inkling of what's waiting for her.

1 comment:

janjanmom said...

I was that kid when I was her age. Erik really loved taking me to Disney! (And Florida for the first time on our honeymoon) I was in 7th grade the first time I went on a vacation(two amusement parks-Dollywood and Ghosttown in the sky) and it was with cousins who had an only child and wanted someone for her to hang with. I loved it and still remember it vividly.

You have blessed her more than you will ever know.