Friday, July 12, 2013

Mom Wisdom by Carolyn

While my two sons were growing up, my kitchen was always fully stocked in case of a culinary emergency. When you considered the shelves upon shelves of provisions in our walk-in pantry and then combined that with the copious quantities of food contained in the refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen, and then added in the foodstuffs in the additional refrigerator/freezer in the garage, and then counted the back-up food supplies in the full-size freezer, well, you see what I mean.

The amount of food I kept on hand, ready to assuage my family's hunger pangs, was the stuff of legend. There were jokes among family members and around the neighborhood that my house would be THE house to stay in in case of a long-term power outage, alien invasion, or nuclear holocaust. We might be without electricity, plumbing, or anything else, but at least we wouldn't starve!

I delighted in planning meals, grocery shopping, and cooking for my family. As my boys grew older, I began buying snack food as well as my usual groceries to be sure the friends who visited them could be fed at any time hunger struck. In their teen years, they often had a large group of friends over in the evenings - about dinner time. Some evenings I only cooked for the four of us; other evenings I cooked for eight or ten. New friends were often taken on a "tour" of all the possible food-vending locations in the house. Our house was a popular hangout!

When my boys became old enough to get jobs and make their own spending money, they also developed a habit of driving through fast-food establishments to pick up a meal for themselves on their way home from work. Over and over, I remonstrated with them for spending their hard-earned money on junky food when there was a house full of food waiting for them, free of charge (at least to them). "Son, why in the world would you spend your money on food when everything you might want is already here for free?" I just couldn't understand it. I had that same discussion with each of my boys many times during their teen years, without successfully convincing either one of them to quit spending their earnings on food they didn't need to buy.

A few years ago, the boys moved out of my house into a house they shared with several roommates. They pooled their money with the other guys and bought community groceries so they could save money by making meals at home. Money was tight for them. Apparently tighter than it had been when they lived at home, and they became cautious with their spending. During a telephone conversation after several months of living on their own, the subject of one of their roommates' spending habits came up. My son indignantly said, "Mom, he keeps picking up fast food on his way home from work! I don't know why he wastes his money that way. I asked him, 'Dude, why do you keep spending money on fast food when we have plenty of groceries in the house that are already paid for?'" I couldn't keep from chuckling. "Mom wisdom" had prevailed again!

-Carolyn

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