What My Mom Taught Me About Being Rich

For those of you who have children, what do you remember about bringing them home from the hospital?

For some, the memories are fresh. Others are in the middle of the journey now. Yet for some, it is a cherished moment you hate to admit was long ago–although you remember it better than you remember yesterday.

The emotions are raw and new. The sleep is limited, at best, but your heart is full.

Days seem like weeks, and weeks seem like days as sleep deprivation sets in. The newness wears off, paving the way for reality.

You battle questions, tears and schedules, trying to figure out how you’re going to take care of everything.

Doubt, Worry, Fear

Am I really cut out to be a parent?

How can I possibly manage my home, my job, my personal life – all while taking care of this new baby?

At times, you feel helpless.

The house will be dirty, bills may go unpaid, you might forget a birthday…

A couple of weeks after MJ was born, we loaded him up to go visit Liz’s family out of town. When we were returned, we were overwhelmed by the act of love that had been secretly carried out while we were away.

MJ headed home

MJ headed home

Celebrating My Mom

As a nanny for close to thirty years, Mom has children scattered everywhere. To some she’s May May, to others Meme. Some call her Grey or extend it to, Grey Grey.

As far back as I can remember, she has always wanted the best, not just for my brother and I, but anyone she has the opportunity to be around; going to great lengths to ensure that we all knew, we were loved.

Like in elementary school, she’d come five minutes before lunch to grab me the biggest, best cinnamon roll from the cafeteria. (Having the best cinnamon roll is terribly important for a 4th grader)

Or the countless sporting events she’s attended. With close to thirty children can you imagine what that schedule looks like?

The holiday play day when she’d open up the house to all of her kids so the parents could finish last minute shopping.

Or the time when she helped make homemade jelly for my brother’s wedding because it was his favorite. “Ham Jam” became their wedding favor.

But, the greatest memory of all was the time she and dad cleaned our entire house while we were out of town visiting family just a few weeks after our son, MJ, was born.

Everything was perfectly placed and neat. It felt just like home. They even lit candles moments before we walked in. It honestly deserved it’s own HGTV show.

In the midst of the spotless wonder I noticed a small green sticky note on the mirror in our bedroom. In Mom’s handwriting, I read:

“We wanted to do this when you first came home, but it never worked out. We may not have riches to give, but we do have love and our time. May your home be filled with love. We love you. ~ Mom and Dad”

I knew what she meant, but Mom was wrong.

She did have riches. The richest gifts you can give are love and time.

As you enter this Christmas season, I encourage you to remember what my mom has taught so many.

Your love and time are the greatest gifts you can give.

I’m not really sure what I got for Christmas in 1988, 1998, or 2008, but I do remember the gifts of love and time. When you really take the time to let them sink in, those gifts are cherished for life.

And, even more, they move me to reinvest.

I only know because I’ve had great teachers.


Walking Mom down the isle at Mark’s wedding


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9 Responses to What My Mom Taught Me About Being Rich

  1. Deborah Sheneman December 18, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Beautiful Matt. She taught you what true love and sacrifice really looks like. A special lady.

    • Matt Ham December 18, 2013 at 10:29 am #

      Very true!

  2. Misty Scott December 18, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    What a great way to wish you Mom a Happy Birthday!!
    Happy Birthday to you, Mrs. Ham!!

  3. Allen Sheneman December 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    your mom is special to many…to me…she is little sister and best friend! I bet if you could look inside of her she has one wish for you and Mark…..PAY IT FORWARD!

    • Matt Ham December 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

      I would completely agree!

  4. katinavaselopulos December 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    Most moms are special, like your mother, most of the time! It takes a smart child to listen and model the wisdom his/her mom brings into one’s life. And you Matt, must have been a very smart boy in order to grow to the sensitive and wise young man that I see coming out of your post!

    Happy Birthday to the blessed mom! Merry Christmas to your and your family!

    • Matt Ham December 18, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

      Katina – thank you SO much for your kind words! I hope you have a blessed Christmas!!

      • katinavaselopulos December 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

        You are welcome, Matt! Wishing only the best for you!


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