If someone were to ask you, “What’s the best money you spend every year?” How would you respond? I was reminded of the answer to that question on a recent weekend in June.
For the past 12 years, my wife, Laura, and I have enjoyed being a part of our five children’s involvement in dance. Ever since they were two years old, (yes, even the boys), our kids (Mindy 14, Ilana 12, Jerry 10, Noah 8 and Corey 7) have been students at the North Andover School of Dance (NASD).
When you consider the costs of recital tickets, competition fees, dance practices, workshops, and 24 show costumes this year, it has become a major line item in our household budget.
On this one weekend, Laura and I volunteered at the kids’ recitals at the Collins Center in Andover. As seasoned “dance parents”, we were asked to work from the wings of the stage. Our role was to assist over one hundred dancers (including our kids) adjust their outfits, line-up correctly and remind them to smile for the audience. This was their moment in the spotlight, and it was our job to make them feel like superstars. What an honor.
Near the end of the first show, as 600+ attendees watched the graduating high school seniors perform their traditional “last dance”; the audience was shown a brief slide show depicting a retrospective of the Senior Class’s years at NASD. This year, unlike any other, I found myself choking up as I began to reflect on the personal growth and maturity of my own children. I realized that in just four years, Mindy (my oldest) would be sitting at the footlights with her friends watching a retrospective of her life at NASD. Soon she’d be holding her friends close, while tears trickled down her cheeks. And as proud parents, I am certain that Laura’s and my eyes would well with tears too. We’d look at one another with not a word to exchange; instead, messages in our eyes would say it all. It would say – “This was some of the best money we ever spent”.
So I ask you, “What’s the best money you spend every year?”
By Marc Freedman, CFP®
Special to FPA