I can't remember how long ago Megan declared her desire to see the musical Wicked. Knowing that the purchase of a theater ticket was probably not something Mike and I would "just purchase" for her, she set about to earn the money herself.
For almost a year Megan went to my parents' house to clean. Each time my mother paid Megan in cash. After taking out her tithing money (a financial donation to our church), Megan would put the cash in an envelope hidden on her desk. (Hidden because everything is hidden on that desk, not because she was hiding it from someone...)
Almost weekly, Megan arranged with my mother to be picked up from school and go spend an hour or two cleaning. The money going straight into the envelope each time. She didn't use that cleaning money for anything.
Nothing would remove that "Wicked Money" from the envelope. There were times Mike and I found ourselves in an immeidate need of cash (meaning CASH not money) and asked Megan we could borrow from it for one day. You'd think we were asking her to rip it up! She would look at us with a shocked look on her face and say, "It's my Wicked Money. I'm not touching it."
Mike and I proudly watched her efforts. There were times it was discouraging to see how far away she was from ever having enough. But she kept going. Last fall, Megan attended a Young Women (teenage girl organization in our church) evening. They were to make a little table display of things they were working on, had accomplished, etc. As part of Megan's display, she took her "Wicked envelope" to represent something she was working towards. During the evening another teenage girl asked what the envelope was for. After Megan explained it to her the girl responded, "That sucks you have to work for it. My mom is just buying one for me."
When Megan came home that evening and told us about that unfortunate little dialogue, Mike and I were really not surprised when Megan ended telling us about it with, "I think it will mean more to me to work hard for it myself."
And so we continued to watch her efforts.
On a spring afternoon in May, I was at a Power of Moms Retreat. I was in the middle of responsibilities and giving some directions when I received a phone call from Megan. Megan was squealing loudly and could hardly speak. Yet somehow she squealed out the words, "Nana got Wicked tickets." I couldn't help but cry. In that very moment, Megan was experiencing the "fruit of her labor." As Megan calmed down she said, "I only have $100, but when I asked Nana how much the tickets were she told me, 'Whatever you have saved.' Isn't that awesome? Mom! I'm going to Wicked."
Megan had us make a special trip to the bank to trade her cash in for a crisp $100 bill to hand over to Nana. Of course Luke and Ellie had to take turns touching it. (We don't have $100 bills around here very much!)
Last Thursday was the big night. I'll tell you though, last Thursday was a LOOOONNNNGGG day. It was worse than sending any child to bed on Christmas Eve or the night before their birthdays. Megan gave a continual update of the time. The day dragged on and on for her. It didn't help that it was Luke's first quarantined day with whooping cough, so it pretty much dragged for all of us.
Finally the hour arrived and her ride showed up in style...
(Isn't my parents' new convertible Mustang fabulous?)
Megan's excitement lasted all night. She left with a huge smile on her face, returned with a huge smile on her face, woke up the next morning smiling, and smiled all that day as she wore her Wicked shirt while listening to the Wicked CD. (Both courtesy of dear Nana.)
After arriving home she declared, "I am sooo glad I earned the money myself. I think it made it even better."
Mike and I refrained from saying, "That's what we thought." It was rewarding all around. Rewarding for Megan and her hard work, dedication and focus to fulfill a goal and rewarding for Mike and me to realize how much more positive an experience it was for her to let her work so hard for something herself.
And surely it was rewarding for my mother, who made the whole thing possible.
What a memory!