Love of My Life
This Thursday, February 12th, my son Will turns 9, and during his birthday week each year on my blog, I like to dedicate a post to him. The song, Love of My Life was written by Carly Simon and inspired by her two children, Ben and Sally Taylor; and every time I hear this song, I relate to her. In fact, I imagine that this is the song I will dance to with Will at his wedding as long as I can manage to not break down in a tearful mess in the middle of the dance floor.
“From the moment I first saw you, the second that you were born, I knew that you were the love of my life”
I have shared this is the past, but I had a difficult time conceiving Will. When hubby and I first decided to get pregnant within a month I passed a pregnancy test and couldn’t have been happier at our good fortune. However, that feeling quickly subsided when I miscarried the baby a few weeks later. I hadn’t shared the news with anyone, other than hubby and a close friend, so it was a very lonely grieving process.
The following months of trying to conceive seemed endless to me, and every time I realized I was not pregnant, I broke down and cried and felt as though I was the biggest failure. My hubby joked that if we were 16 and in the backseat of his car we would conceive in no time; however, since we were financially stable and healthy adults it didn’t look like it was in the cards for us.
During a binge drinking bender of a weekend, when I finally stopped worrying about getting pregnant, my son was conceived. I was so shocked when I passed the first pregnancy test that I actually purchased five more of them; however a week later I started spotting again and I thought I was going to have another miscarriage. The spotting happened on a Friday morning, and my doctor told me to come in on Monday to check things out. Needless to say, it was one of the longest weekends of my life.
On Monday, the doctor performed an ultrasound and flashing on the screen in front of me was Will’s tiny heartbeat. I consider that moment the first moment I saw him, and I knew instantly I was in love. I didn’t care if the baby was a boy or a girl; I was head over heels in love with it.
“But you’re the love of my life; my heart is riding on a runaway train”
I tell new parents that parenthood is the ultimate rollercoaster ride with the highest highs of your life as well as the lowest lows. As Carly Simon declares, it does also feel like your heart is on a runaway train. You really feel as though you have no control over your emotions as this little human being dictates them. It’s a scary and wonderful feeling at the same time; however, it also means that you tend to make financially irresponsible choices.
I say all the time that money is emotional and children represent the ultimate emotional experience you can have, whether you are trying to conceive them or you are raising them. Looking back, I wasted thousands of dollars on clothes and toys for Will that I purchased on emotion. I grew up in a large family where neither of my parents had significant incomes, so there were many things in life that I didn’t have, and of course I wanted my son to have more than me.
Over the last few years, I have learned to control my emotions more and focused on setting the right example for Will to lead a financially responsible life. As I shared on the Happy Hour podcast, this sometimes leads to moments I am not proud of like making my son pay me back $50 for a movie he didn’t want to see. However, I know that I am building a financial base for him that will only grow stronger with time. It didn’t feel good to take the $50; yet, Will has never asked to see a movie in the theater again which has saved us all quite a bit of money.
“You are the love, the great love of my life”
Will is truly the great love of my life, and even though he has not always been the easiest child to rear, I wouldn’t change a single thing about him and our journey. I am thankful for all of the lessons I have learned from having him in my life; however, the greatest lesson is that love does not equate to stuff. The last few years, we have checked our emotions more and cut back on the indulgences; and I know without a shadow of doubt that it hasn’t changed my love for Will or his love for me.
I understand the urge to give your child more than you had; however, the indulgence isn’t necessary and often leads to a lack of financial awareness for your child. I truly believe that one of the greatest gifts I can ever give Will is the gift of financial literacy and awareness, and it starts with leading by example and making difficult choices. I am not afraid to make these choices because it all comes from loving him, and he knows that I love him no matter what financial decision we make.