Growing up, my family struggled a lot. We were poor—not just poor but very poor. I remember one time, the only thing in our stomachs, for five days, was water from the facet. I lost about ten pounds during that time. Food stamps ending our five days of tears, stomach growls, and despair. I think that had to be the hardest time in my mother’s life.
We struggled, yes, but it was never that bad before and thankfully never got that bad again. We were always grarunteed two meals at school so even if we had little at home, we still ate. Unfortunately, those five days were during Christmas break and there was no chance of us getting fed any other way. It was difficult time to say the least.
Now that I’m a mother, the fear of not being able to feed my kids sometimes cripples me. I pinch every penny, I look for the best deals, and I never spend more than I have to. I don’t want to feel the devastation my mother did. I sometimes think her life echoes in mine as I come to the realization that at my age, she too was a single mom of three. Could history repeat itself and cause me to be so down on my luck that I wouldn’t be able to provide such a basic need?
As of now, that hasn’t happened and I find myself cooking and preparing meals with immense glee knowing that my kids won’t go hungry. When I set their plates before them, I see their faces light up and they usually shriek with excitement. “Yummy mommy!”, “I like this food.”, is what I hear from time to time in between bites. It’s like music to my ears and I can’t help but smile.
There are moments after we say grace and they begin eating, that I tune out the world and just stare at them. Their giggles filling the dining room. Conversations about how their day was and what they want to do during the weekend bounce off the walls and invade my observation. “We can do that on Saturday”, would be my reply to their inquiries. I soak up every bit of those times.
There is no better feeling than knowing despite my hardships, my children won’t go without. They know nothing of my struggle and dinner time is a celebration and not a reminder of how bad we really have it. Happiness stretched across their faces is a complete contrast to the days I would cry to my mother telling her I was hungry and she’d tell me, “I know baby”, and hand me a cup of water with a little sugar in it.
I know what I went through was something that humbled me but that’s not the way I want my kids to grow up. That’s not how I want my kids to become appreciative people. We all go through some lessons that taught us something and hope to God that our kids don’t have to go through it too. I don’t want the pain of watching my kids starve and I’ve been blessed enough not to have to. So, when I see my children stuffing their messy little faces, sometimes getting food all over the table, I’m thankful knowing that their bowls will be empty for the right reasons.
As always ((Huggs & Love))