Lessons in Life & Love
Three years ago I had to quit my job because of serious health problems. Since then my husband and I have struggled, to say the least. It is difficult not being able to help my children financially. I often feel guilty for getting sick. It is also difficult not to be able to buy little Eleni all of the things that I want to buy for her. I see dolls and cute little outfits, and I just want her to have them. Then I think of my Mawmaw.
My grandmother didn't have a lot of money, but I never seemed to notice. She gave me so much of her time and her love that material objects just didn't matter. I knew that she could not afford much, so when she did give me something, anything, I treasured it. Year after year, I watched her save her coins in a bag that she so that when Christmastime came around, everyone would get something. She couldn't drive, so she would give my mother the money that she had set aside for me and tell her to buy me something that I wanted. When we went over to her house on Christmas Eve to open gifts, I was happy with whatever she bought for me, but I was even more happy to just be there with her. Besides that, her food, especially her cake, was enough to make me happy! All of these years later I can still taste her homemade chocolate pecan cake. She made the simplest things special! I will find that recipe and post it here before the Holidays.
Like my grandmother, I can't give Eleni a lot of material possessions, but I can show her every day how much I love her. I sometimes have to stop myself from kissing on that child so she can breathe! Like my grandmother did for me, I will bake her cookies, make her pancakes, stay up late and watch television with her, and most of all, love her to pieces. I could not for the life of me tell you present that I opened at my Mawmaw's house, but I can sing the French song that she sang me to sleep, let me put curlers in her hair when I was bore, comforted me when I was sad and showed me in countless ways that the gift I would always remember was every minute I spent with her. That is the gift that I want to give My Sunshine.
Some of the ways my grandmother saved money:
- She never charged anything. She saved until she could buy it.
_She never spent change, particularly dimes. They went into her little bag so that when Christmas came around, she just had to start wrapping coins.
-She made a lot of her own clothes and saved her "good clothes" for special occasions. One of my biggest regrets is that I never asked her to teach me to sew.
-She cooked (or reheated leftovers) every day. Once she splurged and took the whole family out to eat at Ryan's, the buffet restaurant. When the waitress came over and asked her if she wanted a plate for the potato bar, she made us all laugh our asses off when she looked at her like she was crazy and asked in her loud cajun accent, "Is that extra?" She was frugal, but she shared what she had with us. When someone gives you something and you know that they had to sacrifice and save for it, it means a lot. I'm sure she would have loved to buy a new dress or new shoes, but she spent her rolled up dimes on us instead. That's love!
-Finally, she made a grocery list and did not get ANYTHING that was not on that list. When I started driving, she sent me to the grocery store with her list. One time I bought her something that wasn't on the list and she actually made me bring it back. Lesson learned. Now I get it, Mawmaw.