I remember Mom saying this when I was a child and I never understood what she meant.
We always had enough, we might not have had what we wanted but we had enough.
She reminded us of that. And often.
Oh we knew how good we had it what with a huge garden, fruit trees, fresh beef, chicken, turkeys and pigs. We had no doubts where our food came from; we’d been introduced.
We felt such empathy for those poor town kids who didn’t have land and kitties and baby calves and foals in springtime. We thought everyone’s Mother baked bread from scratch and made things like butterhorns and crumb cake to welcome them home from school.
I remember asking Mom what she meant by the words “Love is Groceries” and all she’d ever say was “you’ll see.”
And then I did.
I married and had a son at 22.
And at 26, I was a single parent, far from home with no child support, just a job and a car that ran .. most of the time.
I got it. I finally understood.
Packing lunches, stretching meals, making it work.
Going without but getting it done.
He had supper; I had … popcorn. Any mother worth her salt would do the same .. then and now.
I understood what she meant was this: flowers and gestures are great, but food on the table gets it done.
I remembered the look in her eyes when Dad came from town with a few extras… just because. Special treats like juicy Florida oranges or Ruby Red grapefruits that we’d peel and make last for hours on end. Sometimes there might even be a package of “Dad’s” oatmeal cookies tucked in. Not a surprise, given the sweet tooth he had. And being spoilt rotten farm kids, we were used to home-made. We longed for store-bought. Dad’s cookies were a rare treat. (Oh how foolish we were).
Talking with my oldest boy recently, he calmly commented how hard he was working to save money. He was proud to pack his lunch and use the Stanley thermos I’d bought him at Christmas. But it was when he said, “and when we can afford food, it’ll be a lot easier,” that I stopped in my tracks.
As a mother, that haunted me.
I don’t care how old you are – or how old they are – any mother worth her salt will lose sleep over the thought that her kid – or grandkids – might be going without.
Today, I packed my lunch again, just like I’d done years ago. I used my lunch time hour to buy larder supplies like rice, pasta, soup, pudding, peanut butter, canned vegetables and fruit cups. I stopped again and bought beef and chicken, milk, carrots, celery, potatoes and onions. I topped it off with bananas, apples, oranges, bread and fun snacks for the kids’ lunchboxes.
I called him and asked, “What time do you and the kids get home?”
And then I made it a point to deliver love … with groceries thrown in for good measure.