Monday, November 3, 2008

Cost of a child

I found this on Kristy's blog and thought it was great!

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle-income family. Talk about sticker shock. That doesn't even touch college tuition. For those with kids, that figure leads to wild fantasies about all the things we could have bought, all the places we could have traveled, all the money we could have banked if not for (insert child's name here). For others that number might confirm the decision to remain childless. But $160,140.00 isn't all that bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That's a mere $24.44 a day. Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advise says don't have children if you want to be rich. It's just the opposite. There's no way to put a price tag on: Feeling a new life move for the first time and seeing the bum of a knee rippling across your skin. Having someone cry "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!", then hearing the baby wail and knowing that all that matters is that it's healthy. Counting all 10 fingers and toes for the first time. Cupping an an entire head in the palm of your hand. Making out dada and mama from the cooing and gurgling.

What do you get for $160,140.00? Naming rights. First, middle, and last. Giggling under the covers at night. More love than your heart can hold. Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies. A hand to hold, usually covered in jam. A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain. Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day. For $160,140.00, you never have to grow up. You get to finger paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightening bugs, and never have to stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to keep watching Saturday morning cartoons and wishing on stars. You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodles wreaths for Christmas, hand print sets in clay for Mother's Day and cards with backwards letters for Father's Day. For $160,140.00, there's no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a sliver, filling the wading pool, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but is always treated to ice cream regardless. You get a front row seat to history; to witness the first step, first word, first date, first time behind the wheel. You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communication, and human sexuality no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there near God. You have the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.


Jessica&Colby said...

that was really cute! thanks for sharing!

Tawna said...

I love this post!! I'll admit, I shed a tear!!!