26 July 2013

My momma was on welfare.

So now that the blind rage has subsided, I will have to agree with one of the comments on my previous post; it all boils down to the parents.  Parents are the ones who are responsible for feeding their children healthy and nutritious meals.  And before anyone that may pop by and reads decides to give me an earful for getting pissy over government aide: my mom was a recipient of AFDC and Foodstamps when I was a young little whipper snapper.  Just so you all know, I am not sitting high on my affluent soapbox talking down to the poor.  I know poor and I never want to be there again.  I work hard so I don't find myself having to ask the public for help.

My dad abandoned my mom when I was very young, leaving her to care for her children.  My mother worked in the ag fields harvesting whatever crop was in season.  She was the sole earner and it was just not enough to keep us fed with a roof over our head.  So she had to seek out assistance to help her raise us all (6 kids) without a dad around or his income.  My mom didn't seek out a new daddy to replace the old one, fact is she never dated after my dad left.  Her kids always come first, even now.

My mom used government assistance to keep us fed, clothed and sheltered.  She also knew that her income would never cut the mustard.  She, in her late 30's went back to school.  She got her high school diploma, got her degree and after years of hard work, schooling and being absent in our lives made her way off of government assistance.  I and my siblings are lucky to have a hard working mom and a supportive family.  Some people aren't so lucky.

I never once saw her trade stamps, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or frivolously waste what we did not have to begin with.  As a kid I was mean to her because* I never saw her, 'mommy-tia' (my mom's sister watched us when we were not in school and mom had yet to get off work/school) was the one who took care of us.  I know when I was younger and didn't realize how hard our single parent was trying to make ends meet, trying to establish a better future for us, I was down right mean to her.  I often times told her she was not a real mother, that our aunt was raising us.  Shame on me!  Eh I was young, angry and have matured since those dark days.

It wasn't until my late 20's that I finally got over the chip on my shoulder.  Maybe because I am the oldest I remember the long nights of her being away at school that my younger siblings may not recall.  Maybe it's that being the older sibling it was the hardest for so much longer.  It seemed the younger ones had it better and really, things did get better over time.  Things did improve.  I am glad my mom went back to school and worked hard.  I am glad she didn't sell her food stamps to leave us starving.  I am glad she didn't feed us empty calories.

For years I disliked white rice and boiled beans.  I remember sardines canned in tomato sauce served over white rice was common for dinner.  I remember tuna sandwiches with onion, olive and celery used as filler for lunch.  My mom fed us food that would stick, food that would provide us nutrition and energy for the day.  Gross, bland tasting potato salads.  She provided staples, I am so glad she didn't fatten us up on $5 Little Ceasar's Pizza.  I am glad we learned to eat a variety of foods.  I know fast food is easy, cheap and sometimes you get the urge but I am glad it is just an urge and not our staple.  Well that is with the exception of my one sibling that was on assistance and used it to feed her kids crap food.  I think after her gall bladder had to be removed she won't be dabbling in bad foods anymore, least I hope not.

 Also, it's currently 21c in my office and 13c outside.... why are we running the A/C?!

*I was also angry because she "gave me away".  But that is another story for another time.

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