Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lessons From My Roots

I never fully realized my family was lower-middle class until I was a junior in college. I mean, there were clues in high school, but I didn't really take too much stock in it being from a small town.

This blog post, "The Mental Burden of a Lower Class Background," brought me back to that realization.

I didn't think of my family as rich, but certainly not borderline poor. I always felt lucky and that it was a privilege that my mom stayed home. I was proud that my dad had his own business for awhile, understood his reasons for selling it and getting a job with the city. There was good food on the table, presents at Christmas and birthdays, and our family usually took a summer vaction trip somewhere with plenty of memories of taking it on the road. Looking back I can better appreciate how creative my parents were in their budgeting to provide life enriching experiences for us--visiting museums, state parks, and zoos--experiences in the city and out in the country--and trips to the ocean and up to the woods of Northern Michigan. You can have a good and happy life without having a whole lot of money. There can be an artful balance of living simply and fully by focusing on what matters most and living in the presence of today.

And my mind continues to dance in the dream of having a house...something simple and cozy and allowing me the freedom to explore the world around me. Sometimes there can be an appreciation of having less so it can let you live life larger in other ways.


  1. The picture of the above-ground pool makes me laugh. :)

    I've given a lot of thought to this topic lately. I grew up having a lot (financially), but my dad had to work his ass off for that to be the case. Often, he'd leave for work around 5:30am and not get home until 8 or 9 at night. I respect his work ethic so much, and I am so grateful for everything he did for us, but looking back, I realize now just how much he missed out on during our childhoods. And he realizes it too, and is getting to experience all of the little moments he missed with us with his grandkids.

    Growing up the way I did, I've realized that I'd much rather have Matt HOME and being an active participant in raising Camden than have him making 6 figures. Really, your childhood sounds lovely-- like you were well taken care of and provided for-- and that's so much more important than what a parent's paycheck reads.

  2. I love your last line: "Sometimes there can be an appreciation of having less so it can let you live life larger in other ways." In today's society there is a much more prevalent "Keeping Up With the Neighbors" idea than ever before but nothing can compete with growing the bond with those you care about though, no matter how much money you have. This reminds me of the quote: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

  3. I could have written exactly what Kerri wrote! It sounds like your youth was full of all of the important things. And I love your sentiment about appreciating having less so it can let you live life larger in other ways! You'll have your house one day, Jamie!