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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Not sure if this counts for or against me in the Mother of the Year contest.

Just before Christmas, I approached the kids in a blatant attempt to guilt them into giving to the needy to offset our guilt over the obscene amount of stuff they get, even though we know we shouldn't give it to them, but we do anyway , but they're so thankful and sweet we can't help but think it must be OK and we just hope we aren't ruining them for life about donating to those in need. My faux-impromptu chat was viciously calculated to fall just in between the day each boy received a generous check in the mail from my Grandmother and Christmas. The impending arrival of Santa Claus renders my normal children polite, loving and charitable. I explained that TF and I planned to buy a $XX* gift card at Target for a local home for children. After the children willingly agreed to donate a bike they were no longer using, I upped the ante.

"You don't have to, but since y'all just got those generous checks from Grandmother, you might want to consider adding some of that money to the Target card."

The big boy, a veteran of ten lucrative Christmases and eager to impress Santa/Jesus/Mom and Dad/Higher-Power-of-Choice, responded first, his voice dripping with sincerity. We're talking Hallmark Card commercial here.

"I would like to give the whole $50."

A choir of angels sung in the distance as the clouds opened and the sun shone down on the Best Ten-Year-Old Boy Ever. Honestly? My instinct was to tell him no, but I was pretty sure discouraging charitable acts - even if they are a blatant attempt to garner good gift Karma - would not get me any points for "Mother of the Year." And I want that trophy, dammit. It will be the perfect matching bookend to the one I got for "Meanest Mommy Ever."

"That's very generous," I answered, trying to keep the smirk out of my voice, "X-Man, would you like to donate some of your money?"

"Hmmm..." The great mind of a seven-year-old at work. "Nah. Since O. donated so much, they probably have enough."

Was it wrong of me to feel admiration? Does it help my case if you know I controlled myself and didn't fist-bump him for his ingenuity? Of course I didn't. Mother of the Year responded in a calm, non-judgmental way. I do have a Masters in Social Work, you know.

"Well, sweetheart, that's your choice and it really is OK, but they told me some new children are arriving after the holidays and they'll need clothes. Five or ten dollars could buy two or three shirts on clearance for a child who arrives with very little."

"Oh!" He perked up. "Well, I'll give ten dollars."

I was proud of him for choosing the high estimate.

"Wait!" exclaimed the
Best Ten-Year-Old Boy Ever. "I didn't know they could get that much stuff for ten dollars. I think I'll give ten, too."

I love the way their minds work, I really do. Most people who raise funds for charity have goals, specific amounts they request from potential donors. If pressed, I was going to suggest five dollars each - so I doubled my goal. Yeah! I'm so good I expect those non-profits will be beating my door down, begging me to come work for them.

I like to lead by example, selflessly giving to others in my everyday life. What follows, dear reader, is my gift to you, a recipe for the snack I devoured while typing this.

Dip Made from Stuff I Saw When I Opened the Fridge

In a bowl, mix the following:

1-3 dollops sour cream

1-3 splashes hot sauce

1-2 spoonfuls of crumbled bacon.

Mix it all together, smuggle it into your room with a box of Harvest Whole Wheats (the hippy version of Triscuits) and eat it before the kids find you. Sharing sucks.

Namasté, y'all!

* I'm not being coy, really. I explained to my children that we shouldn't brag about doing charitable things and I like to attempt to practice what I preach, so I left off the amount. Not that it was all that impressive. And I know I'm breaking my own rule by telling you about it, but this is a blog and blogs are all about broaching forbidden subjects. And it's a good story.

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