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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The value of intangibles

It has been a slightly rough week, to put things simply. Earlier this week, I found out that a close family member was told that her cancer had returned, after at least 15 years of remission, and this time, she's not going to beat it. She could have two years, she could have twenty years, no one can say at this point. Right now, she doesn't want things to change. She doesn't want special attention or family hovering. She wants to deal with this with her immediate family, and I can understand that. The more attention that the cancer is given, the more real it becomes. She's fought it before. She knows what she's in for. Of course, there have been major advances in medicine since then, so I suppose anything's possible.

I have to admit, one of the things I did that day was started a budget fund for "last minute travel." Of course, if anything happened and the family needed me, either my sick family member or one of her children who live elsewhere, I would be there in a heartbeat, regardless of what it cost me. But it's never a bad idea to plan for that sort of thing.

Events like this make me realize the value of the intangibles. The things we can't buy no matter how much money we have. The meals shared around my grandmother's table, the vacations we've all taken together, even when we've all gotten on each other's nerves (because that's bound to happen on any sort of family vacation, I think). It makes my personal pride in my budget and my financial management skills seem a little silly.

Sometimes we lose sight of what's important. We're all supposed to take a vacation together this summer. Originally, I thought it would be a successful vacation if we made it through with no large fights, good weather, and not exceeding our budget too much. Now I think it will be a success if the whole family can be there.

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