Peter Pan and Laura Ingalls

Somewhere at my Mom and Dad’s house there is an old VHS sitting in a stack of other home videos, covered in dust, of one of my birthday parties. Not sure, but I’m just turning one of the ages between 2 and 5. All of my family is gathered around the dining room table watching me open presents. Birthdays are a big deal when you’re little. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Grandparents all come to celebrate with your parents, watch you make a mess of cake, and open gifts. Everyone laughs and gives you kisses on the cheek. At this particular birthday my Meemaw had given me a card and put  $5 in it. Mom helped me open it and gave me the card. When I saw the green bill my eyes opened wide, my tiny jaw dropped, and I exclaimed with a gasp, “Fifty dollars!?”

If only, while growing up, we could see life the way I saw that five dollar bill. To me, getting five dollars felt like fifty. I was overwhelmed at the gift, having no experience with money, and nothing else to compare it to. Of course, it was probably spent on Barbies, or something but that’s not the point.

What I’m NOT saying is that we should pretend we have more money than we actually do, no, that’s just living in a fantasy and could get you into a lot of trouble. Live within your means, people. What I’m saying is…

This past week was all about Thankfulness. We took a day to realize what we have is actually more. Most of us spent the day with families, eating lots of food, watching football, and then drove home uncomfortably full. But isn’t Thanksgiving more than that? Didn’t you feel a small sense of wonder and gratefulness at what you’ve been given? Wasn’t there a prayer in your heart of Thanksgiving to God for your loved ones, and all that delicious stuffing? Did you not think of others who may have so much less, who were alone and hungry? Didn’t your 5 dollar bill feel like 50?

I certainly hope so.

Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up. I get it, believe me. But, I think he missed an important element. Growing up doesn’t mean losing your childlike wonder, enthusiasm,  simplicity, or optimistic  outlook on life….it means, not spending your five dollars on toys. It means realizing the value of your five dollars, and how it could quite easily turn into fifty. It means realizing that others would kill for your five dollars.

Do you get what I’m saying?

What does your five dollars look like? What do you have to be grateful for? What are you going to do with it? Are you going to sit on it and let it go to waste? I hope not. Are you going to invest it in a life that you can look back on at the end and say, “I really lived.” Are you going to share it?

This past month, I’ve done a lot of growing up. I’m finding that balance between the child in me, and the woman. We never stop growing up. That’s a good thing. Keep on moving on. Take leaps, make big decisions, face your fears, use what you have wisely, learn from your mistakes, have faith….but don’t forget to grab the hand of the little one inside you to remind you…

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