I grew up poor. Very poor. Way below the poverty level. My mom was a single mother with four young children. There were times we didn't have a phone or a car. I can remember times when there wasn't anything to eat in the house. Once I didn't have a coat. Almost all of my clothes were hand-me-downs.
The thing is, I didn't know I was poor. Whenever there was a food drive my mom always made sure I had a can of food to take to donate to the "needy". It never occurred to me that we were one of the needy families. My mom always made sure that we were clean and even if we didn't have the newest clothes, they were always clean and we were always presentable. Our home was always spotless. We may not have had the nicest things, but what we had was well taken care of.
I remember my mom working at a few different jobs. I remember her going to school. She was always trying to make our life better, and that is something I've always admired about her. She wasn't a stereotypical "welfare mom" sitting around doing nothing. She wanted us to have a better life. She even managed to buy her own home.
I went to a private elementary school. I had a great education. The education I received there gave me a great start in life. It was important and my mom knew that.
The other day my husband and I were talking about how we grew up. I told him that I think being poor made me appreciate what I have today. He said he grew up having hard times, too. "I remember my parents having to go to two banks to get a loan." he said. I laughed. "I remember not having food in the fridge. Your 'poor' isn't the same as my poor. You don't know what it's like to be truly poor."
I think it's a blessing that I do.
This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.