Writing Prompt #3: Poor



That is a screen capture from dictionary.com. When I made that list I wasn’t sure exactly what I had in mind when I jotted down “poor.” I wasn’t really sure where I would go with it. Based on that definition, much of our country is “poor.”

We’ve been pretty lucky. I have been able to say for my entire life that I have a roof over my head and food in my kitchen. I certainly couch-surfed for a while, and maybe didn’t live in the most stable of places periodically, but that was my choice, not lack of a permanent home. I have always had a permanent address to call “home”, so yes, always had a roof & food. So much so that I’ve often told people to go help someone who needs it, because I have a roof & food and what else do I need?

Sometimes a roof over your head and food in your kitchen isn’t enough. Last last year/earlier this year, an anonymous member of my family was sending us a few dollars here and there because we temporarily lost the kids insurance (which was the fault of *the insurance company* and still angers me) and we were paying out of pocket for therapy. That family member helped us in a squeeze. Had that money been for anything other than my kids I would have said to give it to someone who really needed it, but at the time, we really needed it. Our insurance problem was solved, and we no longer need that little bit, but it was much appreciated when it was needed. We went without a lot for those months because speech and occupational therapies were the more important things right then.

My dad pays for a lot for my kids. He pays for their orthodontia in it’s entirety. Let me tell you, three kids in orthodontics is freaking expensive. Like monthly car payment expensive. My dad is amazing. He doesn’t spoil my kids with crap, and they probably don’t appreciate everything he does foot the bill for, but they will when they’re older. We pay out of pocket for their dental work (cleanings, fillings, etc.) and we paid over a grand for replacement retainers for one kid, but he has taken care of the monthly payments for the main work.

I mentioned in my family post that we moved back in with him and I dug my heels in. That means we have unusual monthly bills, and because of that, all in all, we live pretty well. Without a true mortgage or rent payment, that money can get diverted elsewhere. Often that means it gets diverted into the house anyway, but it means minor improvements, or a new patio, or the fence that one year, you get the picture. We live pretty well, and if we were paying a mortgage on our own, we maybe would be the dictionary definition of poor by now. I think it benefits him as well – I cook, we take care of the lawn and stuff, so it lightens his monthly load a little too.

This week we’re on vacation. My husband is home because he has to work or we’d be out more than just this weeks pay. Dad and I took the kids on a car trip to Colonial Williamsburg. We’re still here, but we leave tomorrow for Ocean City, MD. He got the hotels, I have the food. I think I’ve spent more than him ;) Again, poor? I could never, ever afford this on my own. It took my entire June paycheck, which is my biggest paycheck of the year by quite a few hundred dollars, and really, that’s only been food and some pocket money for the kids. Like I said, we’re very, very lucky in many ways. I like to try and give back quarterly (about what we can handle comfortably). I match any donation the kids want to make. We try to vary where it goes. Last year we bought part of an animal for a family in need through heifer.org. We’ve donated locally to our homeless shelter. Is it the same as hands-on volunteering? Nope. I’m well aware that a lot of cash donations to go overhead. It’s why I really try to pick and choose places that don’t take too much off the top. When I was a teen, hanging out in Fells Point, I almost always had a bag of oranges or apples to hand out to our local homeless, or a few dollars to share.

So, yah, poor. I think poor is relative. Do I always have cash to throw about? To hand out? To share? Nope. But I can honestly say I have always been lucky enough to have a roof over my head and food in my kitchen, even if it’s food I don’t always want.

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