My son gave me crumpled up bills and taught me a lesson

Dear children,

Some days you win. Some days you lose. And somedays, even when you think you’re winning, you might end up losing.

As a working mom, I experience this a lot. Especially when I find myself standing in between two of my worlds – my work and my family.

This week moved so slowly that by Wednesday I was actually wishing for Friday. I’m sure you know how rare this is because I often tell you that my weeks at the office fly by in the blink of an eye. But Thursday was good. I checked off a good deal from my list. I accomplished a few things and by the time it was time to go home, I actually felt like I was winning. That evening, I thanked God for a traffic-free journey home because I just couldn’t wait to hug you tight. It’s always on the drive home that I miss you most.

When you jumped to hug me at the door at a little after eight, well… that’s where I felt like I was really winning. Like I was standing tall and proud in between both worlds. “Who says that you can’t have it all?” I thought. “THIS is how it’s done!” 

Then as I went to freshen up in my room, I saw this note on my dresser with a few crumpled up bills.


Sorry for the poor photo. It was dark in the room. The note says: “Dear Mama, I will give this to you so can pay for my school. Love, Micah.” Isn’t that the sweetest / heart wrenching note you’ve seen?


It wasn’t much. I am aware that amount wouldn’t have any significant contribution to the monthly school fees. But I also knew that it was his entire savings.

That was the moment I was talking about: just when you think you’re winning, you lose. I felt guilt-ridden, almost to the point I was thinking about writing out a resignation letter. Yes, I guess that I can overreact like that.

The very next morning, I got up earlier and snuggled into M2’s bed. I tickled him awake and had a chat. Morning chats are my favorite (mostly because it’s so rare; we never wake up early enough for it). I thanked him for giving me his money and asked him why he gave it all to me. His answer surprised me.

“I like having money. But I don’t need it right now. I gave it all to you so you can use it. When I need money later, I know you will help me.”

First I felt like I was winning. Then I felt like I was losing. Then I felt guilt-ridden. And that morning, I just felt ashamed.

How many times in my life had I ever felt compelled to give everything I had to help others? Never. How many times had I felt so overflowing with money that I “don’t need it right now”? Er, I always need more money. So, never.

I want to preserve this innocence you have. But I know that later your natural human habits will catch up with you, whether you like it or not. As you grow older, you’ll find that having “enough” or to say that you don’t need money isn’t natural and that you constantly need look inside and remind yourself.

That morning, you reminded me that overflow comes from the inside. You made me see how blessed we are and that there’s more where that came from. And I write this so that you will too be reminded by it, whenever you need in, later on.

My children, I’ve always believed that every encounter I have with you brings me closer to God. I can never do this parenting thing without Him. I’m sure of that. Whenever I need to be reminded of God’s goodness in my life, I need to only look at you. My eight-year-old son seemed wise beyond his years. That’s grace. Again, I felt like I was winning.

With all my love,


2 Thoughts

  1. Hi Maya.. inget gua ga… Bonnita Tarki hehehe.. i love your blog, you have a talent in writting… and this post is very sweet.. bring tears to my eyes … sebagai sesama working mom 🙂

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