The upside of adversity

Today I want to talk about adversity. I posted before about growing up in a bad environment. I know it all seems bad, or sad, but really it wasn't. Sure there were bad parts. Large swaths actually, but in between I learned alot about how to deal with bad situations. I learned early that knowing how to do for yourself is always a positive. I watched my mom garden (1 acre), make our clothes from fabric that was given to her, build a bunk bed with a bunch of two by fours and plywood and a skillsaw (which she later admitted she had never used in her life). I remember going into the woods and loading up firewood, then stacking it. This was far and away my favorite chore. I loved the smell of fresh cut pine trees. It was always in autumn and the air was fresh and had a bite to it, all the leaves had changed color. There were purples and reds and yellow and evergreens. We stacked our wood criss cross cause that way it would dry out. We had an awesome wood stove (that my mom bought by convincing the local ace hardware to start a layaway program just for her...lmao) that put out so much heat that it would melt my moms fancy candles right through her cast iron filligreed shelves. Of course, all that heat stayed in the living room. In the halls we would have frost creeping up the walls. We would sometimes have to use a blow dryer to unlock our doors because they had froze from the inside,,,lol. In our bedroom (me and my brothers shared one) it was so cold in the middle of winter you could see our breath. We would get under the quilt our mom had made out of (no joke) old clothes. We loved those quilts. It was warm under the blanket and cold on our face. I talked to both my brother's and we still love to drive, in the winter, with the heat on full blast on our feet and the window of the car cracked. I think it reminds us of home. One year when our water pump (we had a well) froze then burst we had to walk a half mile down the road to haul water to heat on the wood stove for baths. We did that for a couple of months until my mom got up the money to get the water pump fixed. At one point we had to cut up some old furniture to burn in our woodstove because we had run out of propane AND firewood. I watched my mom make do with a pinto with no rear window, to this day I remember feeling embarrassed sitting in the grocery store parking lot in that car, watching all the people with their fancy (i.e windows intact, radio inside and perhaps even a heater) cars pulling up along side us. I know I said I felt adopted. In a way that was true. I wanted SUCH different things than anybody (except my little brother) in my family wanted. LIke I watched the news from 1980 on. I was six and loved walter cronkite. But it doesn't take away from the fact that I have great respect for my mom. When that stupid pinto would break down, she would walk, 12 miles, to work. Then she would walk home, clean, cook dinner and never ever complain. At least not to us. At her crap pay of 3.35 an hour, we always had food, clothing, shelter and heat and we NEVER missed a Christmas. In fact, those quilts were Christmas presents, we didn't know what they were made out of until my mom told us later that they were "he who shall not be named's" clothes. She cut them up and made a crazy quilt with them. That was my mom in a nutshell. We learned to do without. In fact, I am better doing without sometimes than doing with. I know how to do that. I watched someone do it, superbly. With our government rice, she made geese from fabric that she found in the bargain bins, she would stuff them with rice, call them doorstops, and she sold them. I think my favorite memory is when our septic system had reached its limit and it backed up into our trailer and my mom stood there looking at it. I asked "Is it bad". My mom said "it couldn't be worse"...then no joke, our roof fell in. on her head. She stood there, and then started laughing. She looked at me and said, "never say it couldn't be worse". I never have. I had a friend say to me once "you don't know how to fall on your face". That's right, because to do so would say that I hadn't learned the lessons my mom taught me. That whatever else happens you don't give up, you keep plugging. You keep whining to a minimum (if at all) and you do everything you can to never let down the people who count on you. This can make me a hard *ss at times, I know that. But when you watch someone do so much with so little, it really blows your excuses out of the water. Once I realized that I was selling my kids short by destroying myself physically, that I was giving them bad habits. I realized that I needed to pull my head out of my rear. I have been given SO much. I have a husband who works so I can stay home and raise my kids. I have a home with a good roof. ( a leaky water heater but anyway....lol) I can buy my kids fairly new clothes, get my food from a store and my car has all it's windows..PLUS a heater...Plus air conditioning. Pretty good. So what's the point? You can let adversity stop you, or you can let it make you. Be someone you can be proud of.
Calories yesterday 1400, calories today 1650 plus a 3.5 mile walk.
Go knock it out of the park,


Roxie said...

An amazing testament, Chris. That was a hard, hard life.

Hanlie said...

You are a great writer! Really, you took me along on that journey so skillfully I could almost smell the wood stove.

You're a very special person and I am so grateful to have found your blog, because you always give me great perspective.

Thank you!

Patty said...

Never say it couldn't be worse...that scene alone would make a movie worth seeing!