I learnt some very important lessons on Friday night about money and value.
As a new business, one of my issues is cashflow. There is so much I would like to spend money on, but my very practical husband reminds me to not spend money until I earn it and even then to think seriously. I would much rather dream (and spend!) big than concentrate on a balance sheet, but do think this is excellent advice which is often overlooked, so am glad to have this reminder.
So when I first looked at an invite for a charity event recently, I must admit one of my first thoughts was whether I could (or should) spend $75 on a ticket. Price is all relative, but to me – someone who seeks bargains where-ever possible – this is more than I would usually spend in one go on anything.
When I read through the website of Mummy’s Wish though, I was immediately inspired by the stories of the amazing women who started it, Bernadette and Gayle. Being a mother myself, I can only imagine what extra massive challenges being diagnosed with cancer while pregnant or with a young baby adds to life. Suddenly $75 didn’t seem like such an outlay. Anyone who has been through that and needs money to be able to make the journey easier for other families is certainly something I want to support. Call it selfish human nature, I must say that I was still looking forward to receiving something in return – a night out. How little did I know that I would get more “money’s worth” than I could have thought.
Whether we like it or not, money is of huge importance in our society. For some strange reason I still don’t understand, there often isn’t enough where it can do the most good. Thankfully, there are so many great people out there making sure that a better redistribution of money happens. Even small amounts given in the right places can make a big difference. One big lesson this weekend was that it seems that it can then somehow “multiply” in both material and non-material ways.
From a material perspective, for $75, I am really amazed at what a good value night out we had. A stunning set up adorned with balloons, with delicious snacks, drinks, great company and top class entertainment. I spent another $25 on the cent auction and was lucky enough to win one of the prizes, which I’m holding in the photo- the big heavy hamper of cookbooks, beauty products, sparkling and other goodies. I was also pleasantly surprised to receive a gift bag on the way out with even more great things, including a book which seems so much like one I’ve had floating around in my mind for ages, so can’t wait to read…but that’s another story!
So for a grand total of $100, I somehow managed to get more for my money than if I had conciously tried to get material “value” for that. I came home and had an experience reminicient of the days when I went to the Ekka as a child….where I just had to unpack my bounty on the couch before going to bed! Thanks to the many generous people and businesses who have also been inspired by Mummy’s Wish, I’m also happy to know that despite the abundance of material things I received, the bulk of the money I spent will still go to help the charity and the great work they do.
And the non-material value was just immense and immeasurable. To read a story online can be moving, but to hear Bernadette tell her story herself was just phenonemal. She told it with such grace and simplicity, yet the message was so powerful I think will still resonate in all that were there for quite some time to come. I could hardly believe that the woman in the hospital bed picture and the composed, gorgeous woman on stage in a stunning red dress (the theme colour of the night) was the same person. To simply witness that a transformation like that is possible, really gives me strength to deal with the petty issues that often concern me.
Though I hope to never have to go through what she, Gayle and others have gone through, it gives me a wonderful sense of hope and joy that should I, or any other mothers I know, ever have to be told they have cancer, they have somewhere to turn, and someone who really understands. These women truly are angels, giving both material and non-material support to others who desperately need it, in what may sometimes sadly be their last days. Especially as a mum, I can also appreciate that one of the strongest messages of the night came directly from to Bernadette from her 6 year old son…Mummy’s Wish cannot always make the mummys better, but it can make them feel better.
Often you hear inspiring stories and want to help, but just don’t know where to start. Details from the Red Cross about giving blood and knowing that I can help Mummy’s Wish by spreading the word about the great work these women do are two things I could immediately integrate into my daily life with very little effort on my part – but could make a big difference to others. I’ve also signed up as a “painter” so if others feel inspired to donate or be involved you can do so here: http://www.paintthetownred.org.au & http://hosting.dmsw.com.au/MummysWish/Champions/ReneeVeldman.
So a huge thank you to everyone there on Friday…those who donated the great prizes, those who organised and participated in a fun night out and those who have the strength to not only deal with one of the most challenging situations life can possibly present – and yet come through and use that experience to help others.
Another thank you to the lovely ladies I spent the evening with. Yet another non-material boon I took away with me – the opportunity to talk to other supportive mums about the things that, for better or for worse, currently really matter in my day to day life – like my 2 year old’s tantrums and toilet training!
I was also lucky enough to be with just the right group of people to find extra motivation to persist with building my own business (Nicole, Jodie and Linda all successfully balance business and family), get writing again after a long hibernation (check out the amazing blogs of Claudette and Catherine), to practice my photography (thanks for the impromptu portrait session ladies!), and simply have a much-needed, old-fashioned face-to-face fun night out. All so much more valuable than money.