Everyday I thank the Lord that John's salary through the decades has been substantial enough to support our family of seven. I had no intention of working outside of the home while my kids were still school age and since I was homeschooling them, there was just no question that John's salary had to suffice. We were always on a budget that allowed for lessons in music, dance, sports and art, but my kids didn't have a lot of the gadgets and toys that were popular. I considered music most important and if I was going to sink money into a guitar, fiddle, mandolin, etc. then there wasn't anything left for Nintendo. No one complained especially since they all learned to love music and appreciated a good instrument.
One of the areas where we had to be careful was the wardrobe department. We only had the budget to buy what was needed a couple of times a year. Once for the Autumn/Winter and once for Spring/Summer. I don't like going to the mall and I was determined to not have to argue with the girls over clothing that was inappropriate for their age. Actually Rachel and Rebekah never argued with me at all, but at the time I knew that the trendsetter for their peers was Madonna and that was not going to happen in my house. The solution came in the form of the Lands' End children's catalog.
The kids and I would clean out the drawers and closets and determine what still fit and what needed to be passed on to someone else. We would make a list of what each one needed for the coming season and then I would let them pick the pants/skirts/shirts/jackets from the catalog. It was a great system . The kids loved looking through the catalog and choosing the colors that they wanted in the clothes that they needed.
One year when Rachel and Rebekah were about 13, Rebekah spotted an outfit in the catalog that she liked and sheepishly asked me if we could get it. I felt terrible, but I had to stick to the budget and just could not afford it. Rebekah wanted to pay for the extra clothes with her babysitting money and I agreed she could do that. When the day came for me to place the order I felt like a loser mom because most parents just buy their kids what they want and her request was not something extravagant. It was just a cute wool skirt and sweater. How could I make this kid pay for this? At that exact moment Rebekah came bounding out of her bedroom, plopped a handful of money onto the table and said "You have no idea how good it feels for me to be able to buy my own clothes with my own money!"
Lesson learned by mother and child.
The relative fragility of masculine identity
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