He was ... intrigued. I could see the wheels turning as he connected work to money for the very first time in his existence. It was a deal.
The first few times I had to remind him when it was time to deal with the nightly clean-up routine. There was eye-rolling. There was foot-dragging. There was just a little bit of moping.
It all went away the very first time I handed over two battered $1 bills. He beamed. And then he asked, “Is this enough for a game?”
He was disappointed, but bounced back. Every night, he dutifully went to work, picking up toys, finding his oft-missing sneakers and arranging his Perry comforter just so. And every Sunday, two dollars were handed over, all tucked promptly in the Buffalo Sabres piggy bank. And the question was asked, “Is this enough?”
There was no whining. No complaining. I was impressed.
And after two months or so, the weekly question was asked: “Do I have enough for a new game?”
“Yes, buddy. I believe you do.”
We trotted off to a local game store with those 20 $1 bills firmly in tow. This time, when he stepped up to the wall o’games, it was with a new glee.
There were still some that were above his price range. He was unfazed. Within a 10 minutes a selection had been made (Lego Indiana Jones, if you’re curious), and he carried it and his wad of crushed bills to the register and waited patiently in line.
He proudly told the clerk that he’d saved up his allowance himself for the first time. The man smiled.
“Buddy,” he said. “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.”
One $12 game. A few bucks left over and duly returned to the piggy bank. It’s a start.