So many of us have so many different experiences growing up. Some of us had plenty, some had little. Some got the car on their 16th birthday, while others were lucky to get a cupcake with a candle in it and a song. But who is to say which of these lives is the better?
I was privileged to share Easter dinner with my sister and her friends. What a wonderful day and evening! Great food and great conversation. One of the topics was the difference in our upbringing. But perhaps ‘upbringing’ is the incorrect word since that would be more the moral code brought down by the parents than the amount of money they could afford to lavish on their children (of course to some, that might be up for debate, but not here).
But I got to thinking about my family and just how lucky we were, how blessed we were. Now, as many of you have come to know, we didn’t have much by way of ‘money’; but what we did have was much love and a great understanding. We had traditions and stability.
There was a wonderful couple at the table and as they were sharing their individual stories (he came from a much more modest background, where hers was more politically and financially secured, but both were obviously deeply in love after all these years), I began to think about my own story (our own story as a family).
I began to see the riches buried in the traditions. Money? No. But, we had things like Christmas, and our summer trips to South Dakota and Idaho and Oregon where all five of us traveled in a Volkswagen Beetle. Yes, you heard that right, a VW bug. Or going to Sunday School and singing in choir; but not until we had our famous homemade burgers and fries on Saturday nights (a tradition started by our father). And of course the infamous ‘hair night’ (also on Saturday) where each of us girls would sit in front of our mother on this cushion that looked like a turtle to get our hair set in rollers and pin curls (I am dating myself here as this was way before the electric roller).
I guess my point here is that you can have all the ‘riches’ you need or want, but without the love, the time shared and the traditions, you really don’t have much. So often anymore, call me old or ‘jaded’, I see parents spending $$$ on their children as if to pay them hush money. As if to say, “if I pay you $100.00, will you stay quiet so I don’t feel so guilty for missing your…?” fill in the blank.
We wonder why we are in the state we are in. It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out; children need and want to be parented! They want to know that they came from somewhere. They want to know about where they came from, they want the traditions and, yes, they want the mundane. Yes! The Saturday ‘hair night’ or ‘burger night’ (ok… tofu… whatever!). Ok, I’m off my ‘soap box.’
Bottom line; the more I’m out of my marriage, the happier I’m becoming in my skin. And THAT is understanding that as a child I was truly blessed indeed. Mother made her share of mistakes; of course she did. I always said that parents are securing the jobs of the future psychiatrists. True? Of course true! But, there was a great deal she did right and it didn’t take a 100.00 a week allowance to make it so (shoot times have changed, some kids get way more than that!).
Rags/riches… I don’t know, I’d take the simple honest, loving ‘this is what we got, so how can we make the best of it’ attitude any day of the week.
I Love you Mommy… Happy Mother’s Day wherever you are!
It doesn’t have to be from the ‘riches’ it just has to be from the heart.