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.