A Penny Could Make You rich! A Single Mother’s Treasure.


For years I  struggled with guilt every time I had to make yet another excuse to postpone organizing my files. My environment always ended up in a state of “organized mess” which looked chaotic to everyone  but me, because I always found what I needed!

Given the truth that one could not change what they don’t  admit needs to be changed, years ago, I adopted a method by which even if my life was not organized, at lease I admitted the problem.

The solution was  organized hoarding! I didn’t through away anything. but instead put them in piles which had a common theme.

I guess this would make me some kind of a hoarder…

I keep cards at hand and when someone expressed what I considered interesting, I wrote it on a card and placed it in an envelope. This was done in no particular order, neither by topic or alphabet. However, these thoughts were not lost and by being committed to paper they had a chance to be shared with others. Perhaps change livesor at least make someone smile!

As a mother, one of the best decisions  made, was to write down immediately ideas my children expressed at various stages of their lives.  We, as parents,find these “pearls” so valuable, so funny, so smart, most times we think there is no need to write them down, as, at the time, I believe we will always remember them… the truth is, we don’t, and here is one of the  proofs…

Yesterday, I was organizing my office which is a permanent attraction for my three dogs, and I assure you, no bones are hidden in my folders… It must be the smell of wisdom that attracks them:)

As I was trying to organized the paperwork, I came across a folder containing several 5 x 6 cards. One of them fell on the ground, as if it wished to give me a message:Read me!

So, I did, and the memory came back as fresh as if it had just happened a day before! The card read:

June 6, 1994– (This meant my daughter Natalie, was five and a half at the time.)

In that stage of development, kids are like sponges, they absorb everything you explain to them. A few days before I committed this story to paper to last in eternity, I explained to my daughters the concept of $, the various values each denomination represented and how with some we could buy more than with others. I didn’t expect them to conceptualized, but I was applying suggestions an expert in parenting gave us, mothers hungry for perfect parenting. The core idea was to respect our children enough to explain at their level, yet not to speak in baby-like language or as if they were incapable of understanding, because as life proved over and over again,our children understand more than we credit them for!

Keeping this advice in mind, this is what I wrote in June of 1994 about a conversation with my 5 1/2 years old:

Natalie (picking off the pavement a dusty penny):

“Mom, I’m giving you a penny, so you have some money!”

Me: ” That is very generous of you! Thank you so much,” I continued enthusiastically, assuming Natalie thought she made me rich.

Pause…Her eyes pierced mine:

“but Mom… you know, you can’t do anything with a penny!

Silence again, then Natalie continued:

“… and besides… it’s dirty!”

The Lesson!

Perhaps, I could not buy “things” with the dirty penny, so generously my child offered me, but 20 plus years later, the memory of the dirty penny brought a smile and happiness in my life, at a time when there are no more lessons I could teach my adult children and paradoxically, the dirty penny became valuable beyond any expectationsfor what it symbolized

It represented a time long gone, a treasure hidden in the depth of my motherly heart which will never, ever be offered a dirty penny again by her 5 1/2 kid. Those times will never come back!

We cannot turn time back, and the memory is all we have to cherish. It is frozen in time, no one could take the dirty penny away from me!

My happiness will depend forever of those dusty memories, and my child, a mother herself now, would understand the value of the dirty penny  only if and when her own daughter will hand her one.

No matter what my children offered me… no matter how insignificant for others, for me they represent treasures because they were offered from their pure hearts  untarnished by superficial values and greed of our culture.

This is how the dirty penny made my soul rich.

After all, value is determined  not by what is offered, but who offers it and why.

If you are a parent, please close your eyes, take a deep breath and count the dirty pennies you received from your children because this IS YOUR REAL TREASURE!

May God bless the wisdom, generosity  and innocence of our children!