A Happy New Year
They were forecasting snow to begin at 7pm, and
most of it was to be to the East and to the South of where she lived. Still,
Emma was concerned that her daughter and son-in-law were in no hurry to leave as
they were going to be traveling North. Snow is unpredictable, as can be
forecasters and, besides, she was a Mom and Mom's worry.
It's not that she was anxious for them to go. It had been a rather bad weekend
for them, which was so highly unusual for them all. Rebekka and Joe were always
so cheerful and welcome when they came to stay. But this weekend was different.
They were moody and bickering, and spoke disrespectfully to both her and her
husband, Ed. She chalked it up to "end of semester tiredness" and money crunches
and holiday blues. But, still, it wasn't pleasant and a tension seemed to hang
in the air.
This morning Emma and Ed had gone to church while the kids slept in, and when
they got home, things seemed a little better. Rebekka and Joe went to visit some
friends while the couple took down the Christmas decorations and bade farewell
to the Christmas season. By the time the kids returned, all the work was done
and it was time for them to pack up their stuff to go home. It was snowing
heavily now but, finally, the car was loaded and the kids were off. As Emma
kissed her daughter "goodbye", she sensed that something was still not right and
it wasn't just her worry about the snow.
"Honey," Emma said as she and Ed went back into the house after waving goodbye,
"do you sense something is wrong with the kids?"
"If you mean do I think they were grumpy, yes" he answered, and flopped himself
in his easy chair, turning on the football game, already in progress. The score
was 10 to 3, and his team was behind.
"Well, I think something is bothering them, and I wish I knew what it was," she
said as she moved to the living room to finish all the little details of
cleaning up after the holiday. Soon it was time for bed and, as they snuggled
down together, he mumbling about his team not making the play-offs and she
mumbling about the kids, they suddenly turned to each other and started to
"Aren't we a pair!" he said. "Mumbling and grumbling like two old people!"
"We are two old people," she laughed."
"Well we're not that old," he reminded her, and kissed her good night. They lay
together like two spoons in a drawer and just enjoyed that they had each other.
The next morning was New Year's Eve, and she woke up late. He had gotten himself
up and off to work and let her sleep in. She stretched and got up and began her
day making coffee and lazily perusing the paper. The telephone rang. It was her
daughter, and she was crying.
"Sweetheart, what is it?" Emma asked, concerned.
"Oh, Mom, I've made such a mess of things. Here I am a math major and I can't
even keep our finances straight!" Rebekka sobbed.
"What kind of trouble are you in?" Emma asked.
"We can't pay January's rent. Not one penny of it. We had to get the car fixed
and the cell phone bills are due and we have to have food and we just don't have
enough to pay the rent." Then there was silence, followed by sniffing.
"Well, darling, I suppose your Father and I could help ..."
"No Mom, I don't want you to bail us out! You have been too good to us as it is,
letting us borrow your car for so long. There has to be another way!"
They both were silent for a minute. The only thing of value that the daughter
had was her $1000 wedding dress. But what could get for it? Could it even be a
"Mom, I'm thinking of selling my wedding dress. Do you think anyone would buy
They had had it professionally cleaned and restored and it was a very modern
"You might be able to get $6 or $700 for it."
"It's the only thing I have of value except my ring, and I can't sell that. It's
my own fault we are in such shape. I didn't plan well and I spent money we
didn't have ..." She was still crying.
Emma thought about it. What good is a used wedding dress 20 years from now
anyway? But, the lesson learned was more important. "Honey, let us do this. Let
your Father give you $1000 to get you caught up. You try to sell your dress, and
then put that money in the bank and use it for emergencies. Then perhaps you
will remember how this feels, and you won't get yourself in this position
"Oh Mom, I hate to take your money!"
"Listen, sweetheart, it's not easy being married and going to school. Your
husband is only a carpenter's helper. It's going to be years before you guys
earn any real money. But I think for now, you need to remember that you don't
have the money you had when you lived at home, and you'll have to say "no" to a
lot of things you want. It's just going to be hard. And you'll just have to suck
it up." She tried to say it as kindly as she could.
"OK Mom. I'll take your money. But Mom? Don't let us ask for help again.
"I will help you if you need it. You may be a married woman, but you are still
"OK, but at least make us grovel?"
"You bet! Now let me get a transfer out to you this morning. And, Honey ..."
"Happy New Year."
"Same to you, Mom, the same to you and Daddy."
Values: Mother and Child
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