Monday, June 25, 2012
"Don't Tell Your Father"
My mother ran our extended family like Stalin ran Russia. When she told you to do something, you knew you had no choice. She'd hound you until it was done and eventually you realized it was easier to just submit. Barbara Jo was like the Borg -- resistance was futile.
At the same time, my mother was generous. Extremely so. When I went away to college and continuing into young adulthood, my mother would always slip me a few bucks whenever we visited. By "a few bucks" I mean a few hundred dollars. As she quietly gave me the money, she'd always whisper, "Don't tell your father."
I assumed she was joking and that my father knew about this. It wasn't until after my mother died that I realized he had no idea. Even worse, he didn't continue the tradition! A stingy immigrant, my father didn't believe in spoiling children. The extra cash that made my life so much better stopped like a faucet being turned off.
For years, my mother's gifts made the difference between my living poorly and my living with a little luxury. During that time, I had only enough to pay for necessities, so her extra money meant I could dine at better restaurants and have a little fun.
When I give away money, I'm always tempted to say, "Don't tell your father." Sadly, nobody would understand that statement; however, I still feel the urge to say that. I want the lesson I learned from my mother to carry on.
Do you ever give away money? How do you feel about this practice?