While there, my daughter Ember (seen above) saw a face painter and inquired about getting it done.
“We’ll see,” I said.
It’s always “We’ll see” with my kids and things that cost money. They’re fickle. They change their minds. They’re not sure what they want. So, I start with “no” or “maybe” and see if they persist.
I do the same thing at work. I say no a lot. It helps weed out the serious requests from the ones that are truly needed or truly desired from the requests that aren’t well thought out.
But this time, the requests persisted. “Daddy, can I get my face painted? Can we find out about getting my face painted? Daddy, please?”
Oh, all right. Let’s go find out.
I was expecting a $5 face painting. I was prepared to go as high as $7. It is, after all, someone doing art on a canvas of sorts.
But the face-painting was priced by the type of image chosen. Of course, my daughter picked the one with a unicorn that was $14.99. After feeling my heart sink into my stomach, I gave an awkward “We’ll need to go ask mommy” response and walked away.
There was Â no way I was going to pay $15 for something that would be washed off by morning. No. Way.
I told the wife. She agreed; that is a lot of money, perhaps too much, for something as fleeting as a face painting. So I told Ember, knowing she’d be disappointed but hoping for the best.
I was unprepared for the tears that followed and what I call “The saddest face known to man.”
“Amy, don’t we have aÂ responsibilityÂ to teach our kids about buying things of value,” I pleaded? “Shouldn’t we teach them to be somewhat responsible with money? I mean, this thing is just going to get washed off and …”
“Yes,” Amy stopped me. “But, it does holdÂ value to her. She enjoys getting her face painted.”
“And how much did your motorcycle cost?”
It’s not that we didn’t have they money. My parents had sent us some cash before we left, so the cost of the face painting was made moot. But in my fashion typical, I was questioning missing out on a lesson of money and value.
In turn, I was missing out on a greater lesson: to discover and celebrate the things my daughter likes and encourage them, even if they cost more money than I deem worthy of the expense.
And so, $14.99 later, my daughter, my wonderful, sweet princess of a daughter, had her unicorn face painting. She was beaming and she even received several compliments from people who walked up to her, unprovoked, just to tell her how great her face painting was.
And I took a picture. In fact, I took several pictures to keep the image long after the paint is gone.
Lesson learned. It was worth every penny.