The Bank

I went to the bank yesterday morning.  When I say I went to the bank, I mean I actually went inside the bank.  You should know that I don’t like going inside banks.  In fact, the mere thought of the inside of a bank conjures up all kinds of terrifying images in my head.

Besides real crime – I watch a lot of cable news – there have been countless movies and television shows about bank robberies. “Point Break” comes to mind immediately, and do you remember “The Nine,” a short-lived television show about nine people who survived a bank robbery together?

For the record, I’ve never been involved in an armed robbery at a bank or anywhere else for that matter.  I’m just smart (or crazy) enough to know that the physical act of being inside a bank increases my chances of being robbed, held hostage or shot.  In other words, online banking is just fine, thank you very much.

As long as we’re discussing places that give me irrational feelings of fear and anxiety, I don’t like going to the post office, fast food restaurants, or gas stations either.  I’ve just let a little bit a lot of Crazy Mama out of the bag here, haven’t I?  Now that we’ve established that I’m a nut case (but a good Mama, I swear), let me tell you about the bank yesterday morning.

Normally, I would have used the drive through, but I had to deposit a birthday check for Riley and I, somehow, misplaced his savings account deposit book at home.  Oops.

The birthday check is a big deal in my family.  It’s money, yes, but it’s so much more than that.  My dad’s father, my Papa, gave all of his grandchildren one hundred dollars on their birthdays.  As a family tradition, my parents did the same.  After my Papa died, my dad kept his father’s ritual alive by giving my sister and I two hundred dollars on our birthdays.  My parents still send us birthday checks (they even send one to Mike), and now, Dylan and Riley (and my sister’s three children) receive them as well.  It’s a giving tradition that, so far, includes three generations of our family.

The bank was surprisingly serene (unlike the thoughts in my head), and the personal banker who helped me order a new deposit book was super nice (and she had lollipops on her desk).  Her computer was moving slowly, so we chatted a bit.

“Do you ever bring your children to the bank?” she asked me.

Hell no, I thought.  “Not usually,” I said.  I wondered if talking about armed robbery in a bank was as taboo as talking about bombs at the airport. “I actually don’t come inside the bank very often myself.”

“They might like to see where their money goes.  It’s a great way to teach them about saving.  You should bring them in.”

She was right, but I had a don’t-bring-the-kids-inside-the-bank rule.  “Oh, my kids are still so young,” I said.

“I brought my daughter to the bank for the first time when she was three years old,” she said.  “I filled out the deposit slip for her, but she put the money on the counter all by herself.  She could barely reach it, but she loved the satisfaction of doing it on her own.”

The irony of my bank phobia – besides the fact that I’ve never been involved in an actual robbery – is that I have fond memories of going to the bank when I was a kid.  I remember going in the vault with my dad to see our family’s safe deposit box, and I remember depositing birthday checks and savings bonds into a special account for me.  When I was older, I remember opening my first checking account to deposit paychecks and cash tips that I earned as a waitress.  These memories aren’t just of special times, but also of important family rituals and life lessons.

The truth is, my boys have no idea what happens to the cash and checks that fall out of the cards their grandparents send them.  Maybe if they came with me inside the bank (deep breath), they would have a better understanding of saving, giving, and tradition.

When the new deposit book was ordered, I thanked the banker I and told her I would make a point of bringing my boys to the bank the next time there was a deposit to be made in their accounts.  (I would try, anyway.)

Actually, the level of personal service I experienced at the bank was impeccable (the post office could learn thing or two from them), and nothing horrible happened during the 15 minutes I spend inside.  Maybe it’s time to take the bank off my list of dangerous and scary places.  Even if my initial attempts to teach Dylan and Riley about the value of money and tradition are a flop, at least they’ll enjoy the lollipops.

Do you take your kids to the bank?

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Filed under Crazy Mama, money, phobia

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