When reality changed…
When I was little my father owned his own painting business…and business was good. We could easily buy anything we wanted. My sisters and I enjoyed elaborate birthday parties, wore the best clothes and were surrounded by toys. One day I remember going outside and there sitting in our driveway was a new, bright red Corvette…my dad just decided to buy it. Money was never an issue. When I was 11 years old we moved–my parents built their dream house. It was gigantic…with well over 5,000 square feet and a separate office building in the back, there were rooms we never even stepped in. This was my reality and I didn’t have a care in the world.
However, this reality soon changed. We only lived in that house for 2 years. In that time, my father’s business slowed…a lot All of a sudden, we didn’t have enough money to even pay our bills. This is when I saw first hand how much money can effect so many things. My dad developed a drinking problem and became abusive. We lost our house, had to sell many of our things and my parents divorced.
But out of this very dark time with chaos and drama, I realized something very important…my mother was amazing.
A new life…
While I was growing up, my mom stayed home to raise me and my sisters. But now here she was–alone with 3 little girls. I can only imagine how scared she must have been–forced to start over and create a new life. But that’s exactly what she did. She found a job, starting out at the very bottom as an assistant.
Looking back decades later I realize what an incredible job my mom did. We barely had enough money to make ends meet, but she somehow hid that fact from us. She found a way to make sure my sisters and I never went without or never worried about money…even if she did.
So today, I wanted to try and help other moms. While charities and government programs are set up to help those who are truly poor and have very little, I thought back to my high school days…a time when my mom was working as hard as she could just to keep her family afloat. I wanted to try and do something nice for someone who was just having a tough time and needed a little break.
So I pulled out my laptop and posted 2 ads on Craig’s list. The first was for infant/toddler DVDs, the second was for maternity clothes. The catch? I listed the price as “FREE!”
With the DVDs, I wrote a simple message, “Have a variety of children’s DVDs. Happy to give them to a family who will enjoy them.” I typed up a similar message for my maternity clothes ad.
And then the e-mails started coming in. Within minutes I had people contacting me about both postings…
“I desperately need maternity clothes. My husband and I are saving as much money as we can for the baby so I don’t have money to get maternity clothes.”
“Do you have the DVDs still available? We can’t afford cable and my little one would love to watch them.”
Mom to mom…I was so happy to be able to help these women. So many people are working hard, doing what they need to do to take care of their children and just need a little break.
P.S. I think it’s worth mentioning how things turned out for my mom. Fast forward nearly 2 decades from when she started out on her own, my mom is the definition of a true success story. While she may have started out at the bottom in her career, she quickly worked her way up to the top. She’s become one of the top sales people at her company, managing multi-million dollar accounts. She’s tenacious. She’s creative. She’s energetic. She’s my role model and my friend. The best compliment I’ve ever been given is for someone to say, “You’re just like your mom.” I can only hope to be.