Just recently I took a walk down memory lane when I was going through some old scrapbooks and photo albums. I came across an email I had gotten explaining the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18.
Mind you that while these numbers may not seem staggering or outrageous, I was given this 12 years ago when I had my son. In 2000, the calculated cost of raising a child from birth to 18 was about $160,140. That translated into $8,896.66 per year, $741.38 a month and $171.08 per week. Or merely $24.44 a day.
I went looking for more recent information and what I found was that the going rate to raise a child from birth to age 18 in 2010 was $222,360 on average. Of course it depended on location, public or private schools, income level, education level and many more factors.
As I read on, the outlook on the cost of raising a child looked dismal. I felt bad for would-be or future parents if they were the type of people who said they would wait to have children until they could afford them. Translation: If you wait until you can afford to have children you will most likely never have them.
Those articles paint a pretty grim picture of the affordability of having a child or starting a family.
What those articles don’t tell you is that for $222,360 you get naming rights — first, middle and last. Glimpses of God everyday, giggles under the covers at night and more love than your heart can hold.
For $222,360 you have a partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sandcastles and skipping in the rain. For that price I?get to laugh myself silly no matter how bad a day I had at work.
Simply put, I?never have to grow up.
I get to finger paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightening bugs and never stop believing in Santa Clause. I get to frame rainbows, hearts and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray-painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints in plaster of paris and cards with backwards letters.
I get to be the hero for taking training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling the wading pool and coaxing a wad of chewing gum out of hair.
I get a front row seat to watch history being made.
I?have witnessed the first steps and first words. I?have yet to witness the first date and the first time behind the wheel.
I get to be immortal.
I get to add another branch to the family tree and hopefully a long list of limbs in my obituary.
I get to become educated too. I will be well educated in child psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications and human sexuality stuff that no amount of college can teach me.
I perform miracles when I kiss away a boo-boo, scare away monsters, patch a broken heart and love my children without limits and unconditionally.
I only hope at the end of 18 years for $222,360 I will have taught my children to love without counting the costs.
While raising children is costly, loving them is priceless.