Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Opportunity Cost of Gold


It is a special one.  Given to me by my mother an my Sweet 16 Birthday Party.

I thought I had lost it forever!

In detailing my car today I found many things I had not planned on recovering. Gifts from my lovely children.

Shoved securely in between the cushions in the back seat I found half eaten hamburgers from McDonald's and accompanying stale and smelly fries.  We have not been to that greasy establishment for over a month.

As I dug my fearful fingers into the deep dark recesses of my automobile I came away with handfuls of goo and crumbs of various colors and textures.  There is no telling what the original form of said goo and crumbs might have been.

Gross.  Kids are gross. They are wild animals with an extensive vocabulary.

I volunteered to drive the young woman at church to the temple on Saturday.  I am happy to be involved.  But only if my car is in a respectable state (like Arizona).

Hence, the deep clean.  I refuse to have those lovely young church ladies ride in my gooey, crumby, sticky, smelly car and smile politely.   And THEN go report to their parents that Sister Pistol's car is EWWWW GROSSS! AND DISGUSTING!

Thank goodness for the temple trip!  I have been blessed for my service in the form of an earring!  (The earring was found in one of the aforementioned handfuls of muck.)

A delicate gold hoop.

Growing up on the south side of Tucson was rough on me.  I never fit in.  Kids didn't like me much.  They were mean and exclusive. 

I tried and tried to say the right things and wear the right clothes.  But to no avail.  I was half white.  I was too pale and too tall and too skinny. My Spanish was too correct.   I was just Too.

All the popular Mexican girls wore gold.  Gold hoops in their ears.  Gold rings on every finger.  Gold bracelets up to their elbows.

I thought if I could convince my mother to buy me some gold I would fit in a little better.

"I don't want you to fit in with these people," she would say in her well-traveled, exotic accent.

When one is 13 years old all one wants is to fit in.  I didn't.

My mother's idea was to...get this... SAVE the money.


Save the money?  For the future?  Rather than buy me gold from ear lobe to elbow?  Why, it's practically child abuse!

I went to school in uncool clothes from GoodWill and Salvation Army.  I was not allowed to tease my bangs 5 inches above my head and wear blood red lip liner.  SO UNFAIR! 

I envied the jingle and jangle sound my peers made as they mad dogged me in the halls.

"I SAW YOU LOOKING AT MY MAN!" they would say with hands on enormous hips.

To which I would lower my head and insist I was not, in fact, looking at the "man" in question.  Please don't slap me, ma'am.

I finally gave up hope of ever having gold in my possession.

My mother surprised me on my 16th birthday with delicate gold hoops and two gold bracelets.  They were quality and in good taste.  Just like my mother. 

Later I saw the benefits of saving money.

I saw the benefits of never eating out to save a few dollars.  Of making do with what we had.  Of not following the crowd.  We did not try keep up with the Gomez's, who lived on the other side of the tracks.

I saw the benefits when my mother took my sister and I on a two trips to Europe upon graduating high school.

I saw the benefits again when I graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in International Marketing and a vintage red Porsche 944.

I continue to see the benefits of my mother's wisdom and sacrifice.

I did not understand as a child that my mother had a higher plan for me.

I see it now.  I am exceedingly grateful.

I hope to torture my own children in like manner.

They'll thank me later.