Doing Without So We Could Have

Sometimes it is later in life when you truly understand the sacrifices that your parents made so that you could have a better life. The selflessness that my parents showed so that we did not have to go without is something that I think about all the time.

Growing up both my mom and dad worked to ensure that the family was taken care of. We didn’t have a lot of money, but they managed to make sure that we had a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs.  As kids, we didn’t think that this was anything out of the ordinary and was something that was just supposed to happen. As we got older and started to have to take care of ourselves, it became apparent that it was so much more than what we knew.

My mom never bought new clothes for herself and made her own clothes so that my brother and I could have new clothes for school. I think it was after we graduated school that she finally started buying store bought clothes. At Christmas time mom and dad went out of their way to make sure that at least some of the things that we had asked for wound up under the tree.  They often did without so that we had the money we needed to do the things that we wanted to do in school.

One instance that stands out for me to this day from early on in my childhood was a day that my mom and I were in the store and they had come out with refrigerated rolled cookies for the first time.  I had taken one out of the cooler shelf and put it into our shopping cart without my mom noticing.  As we went through the store she finally spotted it and told me to put it back as there were necessities that we needed more.  I am not sure if it was her desire for me to have it or the hurt look on my face but before the shopping trip was over, she went back and took it off the counter and said we were getting it. She went without something that she needed so that I could have that cookie dough and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Over the years I have never forgotten those moments and that is why today I go out of my way to do for my parents for all the years that they did for me. We have to appreciate the sacrifices that our parents made for us.  Ensuring children are taken care of is sort of an unspoken oath they take when they make the decision to have children. Finding a balance in meeting a child’s needs while teaching them a level of responsibility by not giving them everything they want is an art that we could use just a little more of today.  Realizing they did without so that we could have and being thankful for it makes us better people. It instills the compassion in us that we will need when the time comes when it is important that they are remembered and not forgotten.

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.


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