I don't know if I've mentioned quite how divine a daughter I have. Her current divine activity involves spending three weeks with her recently-widowed grandmother, who did not want to go to her summer house alone. I was under the impression that Miss Em's willingness to, as she put it, "be Grandma's boyfriend," was unusual, but many people to whom I've spoken have declared that their children--16-20--would do the same. So whatever this generation is called (Y,Z,AA???), what a wonderful bunch of kids!
Anyway, a certain amount of stress is involved, so we get daily phone calls. There are a number of areas where Grandma-family-values are different from our-family-values. One that has come up already is the issue of restaurant meals. Miss Em's grandparents were almost daily restaurant-goers in retirement. Our family, as my devoted readers must have noticed, is a cooking family. In addition to her job as boyfriend, Miss Em has contracted to do all the cooking for Grandma.
Miss Em called this morning, with the news that (surprise!) Grandma wants to go out to eat again. Miss Em said, "I want to cook tonight, so that when we go out again, it will be a real treat."
My wise daughter has hit the frugal nail on the head! If you go out to eat all the time, it ceases to be a treat. Somewhere in the Amy Dacyczyn oeuvre--aka The Tightwad Gazette--is a story that makes a similar point. Amy talked about how she took her kids out for single-dip ice cream cones. These evoked an ecstatic response. Amy said that many parents, seeing the ecstasy, would respond by taking the kids out for ice cream more and more, eventually graduating to double- and then triple-scoops. Amy took the opposite tack: she responded by not taking her kids out for ice-cream again for a looonnggg time, to keep it a much-awaited (rather than simply expected) treat.
I must say that I remain in awe of Amy's austere self-control in the frugal department. I can't quite pull it off. But I do try to keep things a treat. And it is interesting that my dear daughter is begging her grandma, "Please don't take me out to dinner! Let me cook. Let's keep it a treat!"
Dear Readers, do you agree? And, do tell, how do you keep it a treat?