Kiddos & Working Together

Posted in Eternal Love | 4 comments

For most people, after you purchase your first home, having money for essentials can become extremely tight.

Since marrying, Frank and I had never known a time that there was money left over each month. The only exceptions were when I had worked in Massachusetts and Okinawa. In Massachusetts, we had used the extra money to ship our things home, buy my plane ticket home, and to buy Christmas presents for our family.  In Okinawa, I babysat for a family for a year. We put that money in a savings account to pay for shipping our things home, my plane ticket home, down payment on a car and renting a home plus deposits on utilities. While in College Station, I had babysat several children at a time except for when I was pregnant with Scotty.  All of that money went to help pay the bills, buy baby food, and formula, and there was none leftover at the end of each month.

Now we were in Hubbard, Texas, and we had bought our first home.  During the summer we had a little extra income from running the swimming pool, but we knew that we would need more money during the school year. Rules for daycare in the home had changed, so I applied to have our home become a registered daycare. A daycare inspector came to our house, and it passed inspection, so I became a registered daycare person. I was allowed to keep five children, including Scotty. Frank and I discussed how we wanted to do this, then decided that I would only keep teachers children. We wanted to continue running the swimming pool in the summertime, so this would free me up to do that.

When word got out that I was doing daycare for teachers in our home, the spaces for four children filled quickly. I ended up with four three-year-olds, including Scotty, who were all only children. Also, I kept one eighteen month old on a parttime basis. I was definitely in hunky-do! I loved them all, and they were all different. Every morning, I served them a hot breakfast, and at noon, they had a hot lunch full of veggies.

We all went outside in the morning and afternoon for playtime. Also, the kiddos had snacks in the morning and afternoon that consisted of fruit and peanut butter on crackers. If I needed to go to the grocery store, they all went with me and followed me through the store. One would hold on to my shirttail then hold the next child’s hand until a chain of kiddos formed. The eighteen-month-old sat in the basket. How did I accomplish this? The “ole bribe-a-roo” trick. If they behaved, they got an extra special treat which was usually ice cream or cookies.

The cashier at the store would laugh when she saw us drive up and walk inside the store, then tell me, “Those babies follow you through the store like baby ducks follow their mother.”

Smiling from ear to ear, I would tell her, “They are my baby ducks, and I love them.”

When it rained, we colored pictures, played on the screened-in back porch, and sometimes I painted fingernails and toenails, of course, the boys always got clear nail polish.  They all laid down to take a nap after lunch in the same room, and I read books to them until they fell asleep, then I would tiptoe out of the room.  While the kiddos slept, I washed the dishes and straightened the house.

Shelves lined the walls of the screened-in back porch which held Scotty’s toys. Since these toys were all arranged in a certain way, I taught them to put them back the way they were on the shelves.  How did I do this?  I made a game out of it to see if they could remember how the toys were on the shelves then praised them for each right toy placement.  They loved this game and would correct each other if a toy was on the wrong shelf or in the wrong spot on a shelf. These kiddos knew how much I loved them and loved to show me the same love in return by helping me.  From 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. five days a week, these extra babies were mine, and I loved it. Scotty loved it too because he had playmates and his Mom could be at home with him.

Frank was busy teaching and coaching, and I was busy babysitting with a house full of kiddos, which only left the weekends to pay bills, wash clothes, mop floors, etc.  I had assumed the bill-paying roll because Frank was not free during the weekdays.  The next story is about a switch-a-roo.

“Working Together”

We only had one checkbook and one checking account.  Any money we made was “our” money.  This checkbook was always at the house with me because I did the bill paying and grocery shopping.  Frank would tear out a check or two then keep them in his billfold in case he needed money while away from home then he would let me know how much money the checks were that he had written

Being a numbers person, I always kept our checkbook balanced down to the last penny because every month we were so close to being overdrawn.  Money was very tight.  Well, this was fine and good except for the fact that Frank would round off what the amount was for each check he had written.  If he wrote a check for $14.99, he would tell me it was $10.00, and a  $27.99 check to him meant $25.00. I am pretty sure from those examples that you get the picture of what was happening.  Anyways, I decided to subtract and hide $50.00 from our checkbook each month when depositing our money in the bank.  This hidden money gave leeway for Frank’s rounding off and kept us from being overdrawn which would creat charges of its own.

This method of bookkeeping had worked for many years, but after buying the house, our money was even tighter.  I talked to Frank about maybe writing down the exact amount of his checks on a piece of paper then put it in his billfold, but he told me to quit stressing about it because I was doing an excellent job.

One Saturday as I was making out the bills and going through the bank statement trying to balance the checkbook, Frank saw the worried look on my face then told me, “Nancy, you look kind of upset.”

Needless to say, he had no idea about the $50.00 that I would have to add back into the checkbook to keep us from being overdrawn each month.  This particular month Frank had written lots of checks, and the checking account had only pennies left after I had added back in the hidden $50.00. I decided it was time for a little fess-up time and try to make him understand that I needed him to give me the exact amount of the checks that he had written.

With that thought in my head, I told him, “Frank, we only have pennies left in our checking account, and we are close to being overdrawn.  I have been hiding $50.00 of the deposit each month out of site in the checkbook to cover your round-off thangies, but I need your help by giving me the exact amounts of the checks you write.”

Frank smiled a dimpled smile at me, then said, “Nancy Lou, I will do better than that.  I am going to take over the checkbook, make the deposits, pay the bills, balance the bank statement with the checkbook and you can tear out a check when you need one for groceries and such then I won’t have to see that stressed-out worried look on your beautiful face.”

Well, I did not see that coming, and after taking a deep, thoughtful breath, I replied with great excitement, “Frank, that is an excellent idea.  The checkbook is yours.  I will need two checks for groceries and such.  By the way, I will be writing down the exact amount of each check I write on a piece of paper for you. This is great, Dimples! Oh, by the way, I haven’t made the deposit or paid those bills yet.  Have fun!”

With that said, I tore out two checks from the checkbook, kissed Frank on the cheek, then left the room.

Dutifully, I let Frank know precisely how much each check was that I had written then handed him a slip of paper with the amount written down on it.  Before writing a check, I would ask him if we had money in the bank account to cover it.  Even though never looking at the check registry, Frank always assured me that we did have enough money and not to worry.

Fast forward a few weeks, and everything seemed to be going well until one day while I was cooking supper and washing dishes. I heard Frank come into the kitchen then he walked up behind me, hugged me, kissed my neck, told me he loved me then asked if we could sit down and talk. While drying my hands, I turned around to face him then noticed the serious look on his face.

We sat down at the kitchen table then suddenly Frank flashed a smile and said, “Lou, now don’t panic. The bank statement says that we are a $100.00 overdrawn.”

Panic heck!  I actually thought that I might pass out!  Frank was still smiling at me when he informed me that he was going to deposit his check the next day and that he had not taken the time to do it last week. Also, Frank told me that he had called the bank and talked to them, the bank had agreed not to charge an overdraft fee.

Reaching for my hand and holding it in his, Frank said, “Nancy, I think that it would be best for our family if you took back the checkbook, paid the bills, and kept up with the bank account. Would you do that? I promise to relieve you of some worry by writing down every check I write to the penny.”

Looking in Frank’s eyes, I knew that he was telling me he had made a mistake, and I also knew that it takes a big person to do that.  I told Frank that if he thought that would be best, then I would certainly do it for him.  There was no need to ridicule Frank or put him down because he had tried to help me out and keep me from worrying.

From that day forward, Frank always kept track of the exact amount of the checks that he wrote and the check numbers which he would hand to me on a slip of paper.  He actually became a great manager of money and doing our finances.

I think the importance of this story is the fact that Frank tried to keep me from worrying, and I let him try to help without ridicule.  When things did not work out, we talked about it and came up with a better solution. We always worked together and did not ridicule each other for our mistakes, which is what true love is.  Love has no room for ridicule; it is a destroyer, but love grows with communication, understanding, and patience.  Frank and I helped each other grow, and that made our love grow stronger each day. Frank was always the wind beneath my wings.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Wow! What a great lesson learned. You both definitely had the right attitude in dealing with issues. If more people took that route, there would be a lot less divorces and a lot more love in marriages.

    • Thank you, Diane. Frank and I never ridiculed each other. We had such a deep communication between us. We didn’t always agree, but we didn’t put each other down for having a difference of opinion. Love is actually helping one another to become the best they can be. Ridicule is a destroyer in my eyes and never helps anyone.
      God Bless You and Thank You for commenting.
      I Love You,
      Nancy

  2. Ahhhh…memories. the way things used to work with day care! And to think back to the days of doing the monthly checkbook reconciliation and writing checks and putting them in the mail hoping the next deposit would happen before the checks cleared! LOL

    • Thank you for your comment Kim. Don’t tell anyone, but I still write checks and mail my bills. Lol. Thinking Big Brother online is not reliable. Lol.
      I really don’t know if I made a lot of money doing daycare, but I had a lot of fun and it gave Scorty playmates. I was a stickler for them eating right. I was going through pictures and I have a picture of four of them together.
      God Bless You My Friend.
      Nancy

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