The death of our dog left a pretty big hole. Not even this can of kittens could fill it.
Boundaries and limits can actually be pretty wonderful. Our annual income can barely be quantified in the tens of thousands. If various expenses are included, the plural could be removed pretty easily. This is not a limiting factor I would have chosen for our family, but it’s our reality. This reality keeps me awake at night.
How could we ever justify the massive expense of another dog?
This time we decided on a breed in advance, and wanted to start from scratch with a puppy. 800 bucks. Yup, that’s pretty nuts.
In this unique case, the problem became the solution. Everybody would have to work together. This household income thing I’ve been pining after would have to become a reality. In order for us to bring this mini goldendoodle puppy into our children’s lives, we’d all have to work together…
I only reluctantly agreed to the puppy jar. It seemed pretty unrealistic.
The kids sold toys, and WORKED. My daughter raked leaves for a neighbor, made 20 bucks, and put it all into the jar. I sold off collections: old coins, baseball cards, and more. I learned that these collections really aren’t worth much when you finally get around to selling them. All those years of storing and sorting didn’t amount to much, but the exchange for a lovable being who should help usher our kids through the remainder of their childhood and beyond is worth it…
I even sold this old lobster trap for a whopping $45. We picked it up at a junkyard in Nova Scotia 17 years ago, only a couple hours before boarding the plane for home. It had sentimental value. Now that value can be found in roughly 5% of our new dog.
Our children made similar decisions to part with stuff. These were really tough choices, but they knew the exchange was worthwhile. These ducklings, for example, were super hard for my daughter to sell. She was in charge of their hatching, and they were her’s. $30 netted for the puppy jar sweetened the deal for her. She sold them only a few days after our dog died. It was so hard. I’m really proud of her for making the right decision…
The dollars slowly accumulated. Shawna offered up pet portraits to the world, and quickly got a commission. Our kids had their fingers in this too, as we brainstormed together about how we’d come up with the cash. Half the proceeds went into the jar, because we do have to eat.
Long story short, the money all came in. It was a collective project. The parents didn’t engineer success. It only happened because we all worked together. This was a true household economy at work, and how I’d like for it to function in the future.
Our kids—contentious twins—are learning to work together.
This even showed as we all had to agree on a single puppy from the litter. This was a major breakthrough that simply wouldn’t have happened if we had whipped out the credit card back in August.
Simplicity can be undertaken voluntarily or involuntarily. Many of our family’s simplification efforts have fallen into the latter category. Oddly enough, involuntary simplicity can be even more beautifully momentous, when we accept it.
One of my kids consistently asks if we are poor. Thankfully, the inquiry appears to be lessening. Mere statistics would lump us into the poverty category. I’m finding that we are becoming richer in other ways. I must confess that I am earnestly seeking longterm financial sustainability for our family. It is indeed stressful. However, we are learning and growing in ways that would never have happened if we had experienced quick success.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.