When you grow up with little material belongings, you learn to make traditions. You make fun out of old socks and recreate old bible stories by marching around the house looking for spare change. ( Battle of Jericho) -( we were charismatic ). (but not weird).
( yes we were).
I remember it vividly. I was eight years old and my parents were honest and told us that they were out of money. We needed groceries. So, we made a game out of it. Turning over sofas and chairs. Finding change in every crevice.
If I remember correctly, we collected $19.00 for my Mom to spend at the grocery store.
Growing up with six children in a single wide trailer wasn’t easy, but we learned to share. We learned to create fun. We learned patience and compassion for others. We did not have any choice but to get along in a small space. There was literally no fighting, I am not exaggerating. We did not fight.
One thing we always used to do on a Saturday night
was take a bath in our big round garden tub, wash our hair and ask our mom to use old baby socks as hair rollers in our hair. Having four girls that want curly hair was a lot for my mom, but somehow she managed to get it done with ease.
I remember laying in bed anticipating the next morning when my hair would transform from dull to fabulous. Trying to get comfortable was always an issue that was swept under the rug. I must have curly hair in the morning. I must sleep very still. And that we did.
When we awoke we all helped each other take out the socks and giggled at the tight curls.
Our Shirley temple hair would bounce as we made our way to the kitchen table for cereal. We would all look at each other and smile at the others fancy curls. Shaking our hair back and forth, a feeling I’ll never forget. The fresh smell of clean hair. The giggles as we realized how short and ridiculous our hair looked until our Mom fixed the tightly wound curls into a ponytail, or a bow.
We never had much, but this tradition kept things fun in that small trailer. We watched our Mom carefully roll the others hair until it was our turn. The mismatched socks we gathered from around the trailer had no match for any new toy. That was our fun.
It is the small things like this that I remember as an adult. I know of the financial struggle, but that’s not what sticks out in my memory. It’s the laughter, the old socks and the togetherness.
Hey parents that are reading this now that are struggling to make ends meet this Holiday season: here is my advice to you.
Make traditions that you can keep that don’t cost a dime. Those are the ones that stick.
It’s rare that I remember what our parents gave us for Christmas, but it’s often that I remember how Christmas made me feel. How having our big family gathered around our tree (no matter the size or look of it) made me light up inside. How I felt seen as a small child in a not so privileged environment.
No matter how poor we were at times, somehow my parents always pulled off a fantastic Christmas.
Or perhaps that’s how I remember it, because I was more focused on the good. Because that’s how we were raised.
To be thankful for the small things in life. What God gives you for a season is what you have to work with.
To roll with the punches. To make big problems seem small, and fixable.
I was thankful for the old mismatched socks in my damp hair that transformed me into a pretty little girl. I was thankful for sharing a bed with many siblings, and never being alone. I was thankful for finally getting my own room at 13 in a three bedroom mobile home. I was thankful when I saw my Mother come out of clinical depression after several years of crying outside her door.
I was always thankful for what we had, but looking back I’m thankful for the difficulties that shaped me into an empathetic woman.
Parents can use anything to make children feel loved, it just depends on how they direct it.
When you look at your friends with nice homes, great marriages, healthy children, you can automatically assume that they had an easy childhood. Free from financial struggles, and seasons they needed healing from.
This isn’t always the case.
A lot of friends who you love dearly have stories to share. They have stories that make up who they are today, and why they live the way that they do. They make conscious choices right now with their own children because of the way they were raised as small children. To compensate , often times overcompensate for what they lacked.
That’s why I love hearing my friends childhood stories. I love hearing about their parents, and what made them the friend I love being around today.
You do not have to have a lot of money to create a childhood that adults have to recover from. You just need a lot of love, a lot of Jesus , and a lot of positive redirection.
My parents had every opportunity to make our childhood very grim. They could’ve succumbed to a lifestyle of pessimism and strife, but they chose to create an environment of love and when they could, affirmation of our good qualities, and involvement of our individual lives.
These past few weeks with four children and one upteen thousand gifts to buy, I have created my own website, got everyone hyped and then not written anything .
I am back on the blogging train, and I have fun things coming up for this new website. It’s a process , but I am trying my best to produce great writing for all my friends.
Starting January 1st I will be writing a weekly email to those who sign up for just $5.00 a month. I am so excited to connect with you all and after 7 years, take this blog to the next level.
If you enjoy my writing and mom ramblings, please share this with your friends who you think would enjoy my blog. Everyone that signs up will be entered into a drawing for a $50 AMAZON gift card on Jan 1St! Spread the word! I love you all!
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I'm SO excited to provide you with a weekly email, and blog post when you subscribe! As a Momma of four and business owner, things can get hectic around here. Fortunately for you, I write about my crazy days trying to keep four kids alive. I love connecting with other women, encouraging them and all around making them feel better than me!