BALANCING ACT:   What goes around comes around

Staff writer

There is no doubt it is very expensive to raise children these days. Statisticians put the cost of raising one child to adulthood around $235,000, not including college. I am not sure how my husband and I have managed to raise our four children thus far, because I have not seen that kind of money coming into our bank accounts. I am finally at the stage, however, where I am starting to realize a few unexpected dividends from our investment in childrearing.

Unexpectedly, it comes in the way of clothing.

While searching for something warm to wear to work last week, I ended up in one of our two college boys’ rooms. A quick closet search resulted in a nice, probably worn only once, sweater. Just looking at it, I could already feel its warmth. In the next room, I found a nice red turtleneck long-sleeved shirt — probably worn, like never — that would be perfect underneath it.

I had my own jeans on and was now luxuriously warm on top, just needed a pair of socks. Hmmm, upstairs in my high school son’s room I found some of those warm, compression, hunting socks — perfect.

Now, what shoes? I looked in my junior high daughter’s room and found, stuffed back under the bed, that expensive pair of black Nike’s she just had to have at the beginning of the school year. I tried them on and they fit! For the life of me, I do not know why they were not on her feet, but for now, they were definitely staying on mine. With pillow-top insoles I felt like I was walking on clouds, and off to work I went.

It was a good day and I found myself thinking often about my children as I wore their clothes. I was so thankful for the times we had to spend that money we never seemed to have enough of on shirts, jeans, socks, shoes, sports gear, hunting equipment, school supplies, art supplies … the list could just go on and on, and still will for a few more years I am sure.

There is a saying, “What goes around, comes around” and I used to think it pertained to bad feelings or deeds. However, in my world of raising children, it has a good connotation: all that money we have spent on our children through the years is starting to come around in wonderful ways. Not only are we very proud of the fine young people our four are turning out to be, I cannot wait to go shopping again in their closets and under their beds when they are not home, or at least not looking.

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