We’re in hard economic times in case you haven’t heard.
My husband and I talk openly in our house about our finances, and, so, little ears are always listening. Our discussions are generally that our bills need to be paid or that we’re paying out more than we’re bringing in, at least some months.
We’re not destitute, and we haven’t gotten down to “our last $5,” a story my mom used to tell us kids.
Both my parents lived during the depression, so they had plenty of stories to tell. And, although they lived comfortably when I was a child, they were never ones to spend hard-earned money on needless luxuries. Up until my teen years, I thought we were about to go broke, since they always talked about not knowing if they were going to have enough money to get by. My mom would clip coupons and shop three different grocery stores in town just to get the best deals. They rarely bought new clothes. They made a garden. They didn’t recycle, because they would reuse containers and bags, instead.
They were smart. I mistook it for being nearly poor.
So, when my 11-year-old daughter hears my husband and I talk about money, she has a unique way of processing the situation. She has declared we are never to go out to eat again. (We did last night.) And, instead of spending money on school-sponsored trips (for her sister), we should save that money.
And, sometimes, when she’s been thinking just a little too much, she pops out the question: “Momma, are we going to be hobos?” or “Momma, am I going to be a hobo?”
I envision an older man in tattered clothes hopping in a railcar to travel across the country or maybe an “Andy Griffith” episode about a hobo who talked Opie and his pals into being like Robin Hood and robbing from the rich to give to the poor (in this case, the hobo).
Still, my daughter hasn’t totally rejected the possibilities of such an occupation. Sometimes, when she’s worrying about school or is stressed by something kids stress about, she’ll get to thinking about a life of no responsibilities and declares, “I wish I were a hobo!”
– Linda Lynn
My 4-year-old has a quirky little habit. He takes roll call when our family is driving down the highway.
“Ma-MEE!” he will say enthusiastically. I reply, “Yes, Cade?” as if he needs something.
Then, “Da-DEE! is shouted out as promptly as I respond. Daddy says, “Yes, Cade.”
And Cade continues his roll call:
“Issie!” (which is for Kaci)
“Nanny!” (which is for his sister Katie)
If any of us say, “Here!,” like you would in an actual roll call, he protests loudly. Or, if you don’t answer right away, he continues until you acknowledge him.”
“Issie!” “Issie!” … “ISSIE!!” Please, Kaci, answer him.
So, on a recent trip to Texas, one of our oldest daughter’s friends, Alex, came with us.
After a few miles down the road, Cade began:
“Ma-MEE!” …. Yes, dear.
“Da-DEE!” … What, Cade?
“Issie!” … Yes.
“Nanny!” … Yes, Cade.
We all paused and realized he had named Alex “GAH.”
After we quickly explained to her what was happening, Alex responded, “Yes, Cade?”
– Linda Lynn
My mom, “Gwennie,” comes into town about twice a year from Connecticut. While here, she usually packs in a few trips to the local country western outfitters, a visit to a BBQ joint and, of course, enjoys some Mexican food.
For putting up with the craziness her trips usually entail, I’m entitled to some gift … usually of the purse variety, and of a brand I wouldn’t be able to afford for myself.
So there I am last week, searching for my perfect new bag. Alas, I find it but the store is down to two.
Can they hold it for me? Of course – but only until the end of the day … a full week before my mom’s arrival.
Can she charge it over the phone? Of course! So my mom ensures I have my dream bag and charges it over the phone for me. Here’s how that went …
Saleslady: “Ma’am, would you like us to send the bag home with your daughter or would you like it held in customer service until your arrival?”
Me: Super excited to take home my bag.
My mom: “Leave it customer service. She can wait.”
Me (to the saleslady): “Is she serious?”
Saleslady (to my mom): “Ma,am, are you serious?”
My mom: “Yes. I’m absolutely serious. Please box it up and we’ll pick it up Friday.”
After the disbelieving salesgirl shared this with her fellow salesgirls and they all expressed their sympathy for me, I called my mom back and asked “how could you??”
The explanation is this:
My mom wanted us to go pick it up together. She knew how much I wanted it and she wanted to be there to see my excitement to pick it up. She didn’t want it to be “old hat” by the time she arrived a week later. Part of the fun in getting for me was seeing my reaction to having it in my possession.
Three years ago, I wouldn’ t have had an ounce of understanding about this, and thought it was just plain cruel. But being a mom, one of the greatest joys I have is seeing my boy happy. I treasure those moments – the ones of utter surprise, of excitement, of bliss. And I probably will still treasure them when he’s my age. I guess some things never change.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
Have any old family portraits you’d love to send through the shredder? Any of them so embarrassingly mortifying, you’d rather burn them than ever let them see the light of day again?
Here’s a site that shows some of the worst, most awkward, yet funniest family photos. Click here to check it out. If you have any memories of really funny or corny family portraits, let me know! Comment here or send me an e-mail. I’d love to hear some stories.