Ok, so the story might not be so little, so I'll try my best to give you the Readers' Digest Condensed Version.
This is a tribute to my mother. Not that I could possibly do her justice in the pages of my blog, but I'll do my best to tell you just one of the reasons I really admire her.
We grew up poor. When I say this, I mean it in the truest sense of the word. Dirt poor.
My mom and "dad" divorced when I was 6. It was ugly. It was nasty. Let's just say that he left my mom with NOTHING! Well, nothing but a 6 year old girl that is. Luckily she had a friend (another kindergarten room mother) that had recently divorced as well, and was pretty down on her luck. They decided to become roomates, and look for a place they could afford. The funny thing about "affording" a place is that up to that instant moment, neither of them had jobs to speak of, but did have two hungry 6yo mouths to feed. Being the creative souls that both of these women were, they found a place to "house sit" for 6 months. They quickly started cleaning houses, doing yardwork, anything they could find during "school hours" to get by. That winter, we all slept in one room of that house, because they couldn't afford to heat the whole thing. We had a "Goodwill" christmas, with a tree that was given to them by one of their employers. I remember that Christmas well.
Fast foward to the next 15 years that followed. My mom and this woman lived together, becoming best friends as well as much needed support for their new found "single motherhood". They would work opposite shifts, paper routes, etc...whatever was needed so that we wouldn't have to be babysat, because they believed that simply wasn't an option. These men in their lives weren't going to force them into someone else raising their children. And child support....that just plain old didn't happen. They were on their own, and there seemed to be some peace with that.
We were still poor. Dirt poor. We lived in a trailer in a park that they were "given" as pay for working for a trailer lot cleaning out repossessed trailers. You can imagine that this thing looked like when we first got it. My mom and her friend cleaned top to bottom, painted, found carpet, and really cleaned the place up nice. We moved into this community, made fast friends, and had what we considered an ideal childhood, doing what every other kid we knew did. Played outside until we couldn't see anymore it was so dark. Doing skits with our friends, and creating wild performances the likes that Shakespeare would be proud of (ok, sense the drama there???) Molli, if you're reading this, you know exactly what I'm talking about!
I'm rambling, and really haven't even touched the surface of this story, but I'm really getting to the moral of this story...
WE NEVER KNEW WE WERE POOR!
We didn't know. We didn't have any idea. We thought...no knew, that we were just like every other kid at school. Our parents took such great care to make sure we had the things we needed, and one way or another, most of the things we wanted. We never knew just how hard they worked to make sure of this.
My theory here is this...even though we are trying to live frugaly, paying off debt and making sure our kids have a sound future...it is truly my goal to NEVER say to my kids "No honey, we just can't afford it."
Does that mean I'm going to give them everything on a silver spoon? Nope! Does that mean I'm going to go into debt trying to make them happy? Nope! It means that I am going to try to live by one of the lessons that my mom taught me:
Do the best with what you have!
*A little side note - 18 years after leaving home, my mom and her best friend are still living together, and I'm proud to say that they retired 10 years ago (at the age of 48!) and now have the means to do pretty much what they want, when they want...which of course is STILL the most frugal thing they can come up with.
I love you mom!