Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Free Lunch?

No one gets a free lunch.  Or so the old saying goes.

Until you get to the corporate world, and then they give you free lunch all of the time... but I digress. ;)

When I was a kid, I refused to eat at school.  We were too poor to pack a lunch, and I was too embarrassed to use my free lunch ticket.  Silly, I know, but true.  So I would go all day with no breakfast or lunch until it was time to come home from school, and it was by choice. My mom never knew I was embarrassed to be poor and she most certainly never knew that I skipped my meals.

My mom lost a child (stillborn) before I was conceived.  Then, when she was nine months along with me, my father passed away.  The two tragedies in a row when she was so young must have been a lot to bear, I'm certain of it, but something happened to her way of thinking, something that kept her from wanting to reach out and grab life.  She retreated into a shell after that and never took chances, never tried to make a better life for herself.  She was simply content to just get by.  She's still like that today.  The implications for herself and for me were great, including the fact that my whole childhood was wrought with the real ache of being poor.

Now I'm grown and have kids of my own, and I lovingly make packed lunches almost every single morning (hubby packs most days too).  It's such a joy for me to provide a well balanced lunch for the family to take to school and/or work.

It's something I find great comfort in, even though it doesn't mean much to them...they take it for granted, and I like it that way. :)

Those things that were huge in my life are now small today, but they still color so many of the things I do, the way I think, the person I am.

I've grown up, fought my way out of poverty, secured a solid career and valid education.  We are not rich by any means, nor are we poor.  We are happily middle class.  And while that doesn't mean much to anyone else in the world, it means everything to me because my children have food. They have clothes (a lot of them).  We own our own home, with a nice piece of land.  And we have prepared for their, and our futures. They will never know the burden of being poor like I did.  I don't remember to thank God for that every day, but I'm remembering it today.  I am thanking God that if you reach out and persist, and try, and work hard, you can make positive changes in your life.  I am thanking God for my good health, and the good health of my husband and children.  And I am thanking God even for my childhood.  Regardless of the poor I grew up in, as a small child I was always happy and loved, and safe.  And that has colored me too.

What are you thankful for today?


  1. Your childhood paved the way for who you are today - just like what you do for your kids will carry on to their kids someday. You broke a cycle and are teaching your children along the way!

  2. I know exactly where you are coming from Rosie... been there done that, except I had both parents. Being poor was no fun, but now I look back at it, I see my parents did the best they could with what they had.

  3. I think being "middle class" is something really good! I hate when they say that in a negative meaning...
    When my daughter ask me why her friends at school eat junk food, I say: beacuse their mom's have no time or joy to prepare food to them... because it is a joy to provide it!!!

  4. Our county is a little different. All the kids in the schools get free lunch so it isn't based on need. My son eats breakfast and lunch at school since we don't pay for it anyway and almost every other child does so as well. I grew up really poor, but I was lucky my mother shielded me from most of the negative impacts. I think that it is awesome that you make your child's lunch every morning!

  5. "happily middle class" - that's all I really want to be. I love that you are so thankful for everything you have. I find that being thankful leads to a place of happiness.

  6. Wow Rosie! I never could have imagined not eating anything all day until I came home from school. #foodlovingkid We were poor too I come from a single parent home. My mom did the best she could providing roof, clothes and food. Although, often times it wasn't what I wanted, at least it was something. I am grateful for the good as well as the not so good times in my childhood. They've w/out doubt shaped who I have become. I appreciate everything life has to offer, big or small. ...and I most definitely love the skin I'm in.

  7. My folks were poor, too. I don't know that I was ever embarrassed in taking advantage of free lunches or not, but was definitely thankful these meals were available to kids such as myself. When I was in grade school, we had breakfast each morning usually at school. I may or may not have gotten these free. I just don't remember, but I loved the hot meals to start my day.By the time I got to high school, my folks would give me a little pocket change for me to grab a soda and pack of cracker for my lunch. If I wanted a packed lunch, then it was up to me to do. That didn't happen to often.

    Our kiddies have always been cared with three square meals. Since I home schooled, then I didn't have to worry with packing lunches. However, after they started working during the summer months or while in college, I packed them a breakfast biscuit each morning and if they wanted lunch then I was always happy to make one for them. Like most kids today these things were taken for granted, but they later missed them because they don't have Mom around all the time doing these little things.

    I'm happy we have a blessed life and can give our children within reason things to make their lives more pleasant. Humble beginnings build good character. I wonder, if children today are missing out somehow.

    Good post!

  8. I am thankful for my family and the ability to work at home to provide for them. We don't have a lot but we have what we need.

  9. Would sure like to be happily middle class without debt up the eerr umm you know haha and yeah what we go through can sure mold us and make us thankful ineded

  10. My parents were poor too but my Mom taught be how to be frugal and smart with money (because they hardly had any). We are not "a happy middle class" yet but we are working on it :) Today I'm thankful for my Mom, and for her shining example in my life!

  11. Rosey,
    Hi! You have a good outlook on life. Good post.

  12. I absolutely love this post! Have a great day friend. :)

  13. Awesome post. You know, you never appreciate what you have until you haven't had it. My parents were extremely poor growing up and they fought there way into a comfortable middle class life. I wanted for nothing growing up.
    I had a great teaching career, but I was unfulfilled. When I walked away last June, I had a part time job and some savings lined up to begin my next dream: to be an artist/writer/photographer. The job didn't happen; they lost funding. We used up our savings. And though there is no room in our budget for extra frills of any kind, we're still managing to make it. But you know what? I know that when I reach my goals it will be worth it. And I appreciate - so much - the food that is on my table more than I ever have before. I still teach part time but I'm determined to realize my lifelong dreams for life is short and you just never know. Wonderful post. I love your story!

    1. That should be "their" up there, not "there" lol

  14. Oh Rosey, I never knew all that about you. Thank you so much for sharing. I can't imagine how hard it must have been on your mother to experience loss like that at a young age. But it's so sad that she reacted by not taking chances and just living a safe life. I am so proud of you for taking control of your situation and realizing that only you can provide your family with the type of life you want and deserve. Thank you for showing others that they can change their situation and live the life they dream of!

  15. Praise God for His provision. You are a shining example of learning and teaching thankfulness as a result of previous trials. May God bless you, your family, and your ministry.

  16. such a touching, sweet post, rosey! bless you for all you've gone through and the way you pushed on. you definitely live a rich life full of love and happiness. something to be proud of!

  17. That's funny, my husband is in the corporate world and he gets a free lunch every Monday. I always thought that was odd. He's what I'm most thankful for. He provides for me and my family and it allows for me to stay at home with my children. I feel so blessed to have him in my life.

  18. Funny you should mention this packed lunch today - My husband volunteers doing taxes for the needy. His day is Tuesday and he's gone all day. I packed a lovely lunch for him this morning. He called to thank me for putting two cookies inside the bag - he was able to share that goodie with a co-volunteer. That made my day!

  19. Bless your heart! I don't know how you made it all day without something to eat. And I think 'happily middle class' is great because that's what I consider ourselves to be. I'm thankful for my hardworking hubby who loves his job that's provided so well for us. The early years were a bit lean, but it taught us to be careful with money.

  20. I can totally relate to this one. My mom was a single mom of 4. Even working 2 jobs, money was always tight. We lived in the area all the wealthy kids went to school. They would question why my lunch card looked different than theirs. I hated being poor, especially at that school. I always told myself that I was NOT going to turn out like my mother. I love her dearly, but her life choices were not ones I was going to make. I am where you are. Not rich, but comfortable. We have busted our butts to get to where we are now, and I am so happy my children will never know the humiliation of being that poor, like I did.

  21. what a great post...
    not because of your childhood, but because of who you are now... and for the reminder we need to be thankful.. not just for when things go great... but always :)

  22. Being able to provide for our families is something to be very grateful for. This is a lovely post and a great reminder of how lucky our children are.

  23. I got free lunches as a child and my mom would always tell me how lucky I was that we were getting this stuff free! so I should appreciate it and eat every morsel...most of the other kids were getting free or reduced lunches too so i never felt different.

  24. I am happy you had such a positive story to tell and that you came out okay - and still valued your childhood.

  25. I know the feeling Rosie and even though I feel like I haven't succeed in life with a career I know I succeed in having a family 2 kids and a hard working hubby that provides for us we have a roof over our head and we are prepare for our kids future as well as ours.

  26. Thank you for the reminder Rosey. I feel so fortunate that my girls, 15 and 12, actually want to go to the movies w/ my husband and I. Or, go bowling, like we did yesterday. I know the time will come soon enough when they'll be running around with friends but, for now, they like hanging with us. yay!

  27. I can very much relate to this post Rosey, thank you for sharing it.

    It's probably why I enjoy cooking so much and sharing it with family, friends, and neighbours. I always made the kidling's lunch to take to school and pack the Great Scot's lunch every day, and it's immensely satisfying.

  28. A wonderful post about humility and gratitude....

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words!! Wishing you a very Happy Easter!!


  29. Hi Rosey,
    I am glad that you triumphed over poverty and now can help your children to experience a better life. You certainly have a lot to be thankful for. I give God thanks every day for giving me the strength to overcome the blows I have faced in life and the support and love of friends and family. I am also thankful for the wonderful bloggers like you whom I have been able to communicate with . Take care and all the very best to you and your family.

  30. Such a touching share Rosey.
    I can identify.

    Not to go into my long stories. But just to say thank you for reminding me to keep loving.

    This month I was going to stop making lunches for my kids and let them eat the school lunches. 1. I feel burned out. 2 Hubs is coming home and I feel I might have to focus real hard on lowering stress 3. They seem not to value the hardwork put into the lunches I make, even though they say how much they love the lunches. I saw my son dump some cuties in the bin and well....there ya go.
    But now I will pray and see how it turns out by Tuesday.

    It is indeed a blessing to have health, food and shelter.
    A great blessing.


  31. What an awesome post! It was a window to your soul and what a soul that is! Blessings to you and yours and may we all be more appreciative of what we have (great or small).
    Do come by NanaHood.com and link up this great post so that my readers can enjoy it too!http://nanahood.com/lung-cancer-and-asbestos-exposure

  32. I LOVE this! Thank you for being thankful and for linking up with me. :) Have a very Blessed Easter!

  33. Happy Easter!
    visit and follow from Friday blog hop.
    Would be nice if you can visit and link up at my blog.
    Have a great weekend.

  34. it breaks my heart what some kids have to go through. it warms my heart to hear how far you've come. and i love that you love making your kids lunches.


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