Saturday, February 18, 2006

Thankful

I am cranking away at my Dulaan knitting with renewed energy, and here is why:

Thursday morning, I bundled Daughter into the car quite early, and we zoomed off to our big, fancy grocery store to seek out baby formula. I fully intended to buy every can on the shelf if need be, and in fact I did come home with about 6 kinds. We got in line to check out - a quick operation at 8:30 in the morning. There were only a couple of lanes open, and we jumped in behind a woman and her little girl. The woman looked to be a few years older than I, and the girl was perhaps 4. She was riding in the seat of the cart. The woman had a puffy jacket on (Buffalo Bills, maybe) and the little girl, a purple winter coat and a black, blue and red hat. The first thing I thought was that it looked like a man's hat - it was a bit big on her head and the colors were incongruous with the rest of her outfit. She had on clean white and pink sneakers and was quite adorable.

The mother was buying just a few things - maybe some cereal and juice and milk. I plunked my cans of formula, jars of baby food, bananas, soy milk, and whole milk on the conveyer (I bought everything I could to mix with the formula to make it taste better). You know how it is in the checkout, especially when the store isn't busy...you totally eavesdrop. Right? I hope you all do that too, or else I feel like a real tool. Anyway, she went to pay with a plastic card and said to the cashier, "this is food stamps...how do I do it? I've never been to this store before."

Aw, man.

I complain occasionally on this blog about being "poor." I really have no right to do so. Husband does not make a million dollars, but we are able to pay our bills. We are able to heat our home (even if it's not quite as warm as we'd like), and we can put gas in our cars. We can buy diapers (generic to save a bit...here's a secret: they absorb pee and hold poop just as well as the name brands), we can buy daughter warm clothes when she outgrows what she already has. I am even able to buy 6 different kinds of formula and soy milk (quite pricey!) to cater to my daughter's tastes. Yes, there are months when we have to dip into our savings, but at least we have the savings there to catch us when the jeep breaks or the explorer needs new tires (I know, nice cars...but they are not new and you need 4wd in Buffalo). And yesterday, on the way back from the doctor's office, we stopped at Denny's for a little celebration brunch, not really thinking twice about dropping the 20 bucks. When I go to the grocery store, I know I can buy what I need to feed my family nutritious meals, and even occasionally a few treats.

And I complain about not really being able to buy nice yarns to feed my knitting habit, but really, if you saw my stash of yarns and fabrics, you wouldn't feel sorry for me. When I get a good look at it, I actually feel a little embarrassed at the bounty.

So after having that little supermarket scene rolling around in my head for the past couple of days, I have attacked my Dulaan commitment with a slightly different attitude. Hat #3 is almost complete, with hat #4 to quickly follow. After that it's onto the mittens, and then I think charity may become a bigger part of my knitting and sewing. Perhaps one charity item per month or so, at least until bebe #2 arrives and my schedule goes haywire.

Please consider doing something like this if you are able. We are all just a few paychecks or financial hits away from needing food stamps and charity, really. I'd like to think if my family fell on hard times, someone would do what they could to help us.

3 comments:

Teresa said...

Hun, what you decribed above could have been me a year or so ago.. replace the woman and child with a very pregnant woman, and you have it. Husband was unemployed pretty much my whole pregnancy, and I could not work full time. We dusted ourselves off, picked ourselves up, and are doing ok. I will admit, I buy generic diapers, and get the lil one's clothes from yard sales. I am just now splurging for sale yarn with free shipping. No food stamps anymore, but we are on Wic still. I am glad for that, they give great advice, and for free they do development checkups on the baby, too.

HangerMom said...

You're so right. I complain all the time about how broke we are, but the fact is, I work part time because I WANT to, not because the job isn't there for me if I needed it, and we have the savings to cover the rough times. It's good every now and then to be put in our places and realize much we have compared to others. Oh, and I'm all about the generic diapers.

kate said...

Teresa - it's great that you are doing so much better. I'm sorry to hear of your difficulties in the past. I see nothing wrong with buying generic stuff and yard sale/discount store clothes! Why spend a lot on a kid who doesn't know the difference anyway? Everything I buy is store brand and it really helps my budget, which is so tight it practically squeaks. Right now I am kicking myself for not buying the little 0-3 month snowsuit I saw at wal-mart the other day for $5...when I went back it was gone and it would have been perfect for the new baby. :(