When I was growing up we were poor. I look back now and I am not sure how my mother and father managed as well as they did. I think for the most part my brothers my sister and I did not notice how poor we were. We had clothes and we never went hungry. My parents never let us know, until much later, how close we came to losing the house. If there were nights when we had pancakes many days in a row we didn’t notice or for that matter care. Pancakes for dinner was a treat. I understand why we had regular milk mixed with powdered milk.
One year when my dad lost his job and my mother was at that point still home with us, things must have been quite bad. I didn’t know how bad things must have been. I remember being asked to help out a family at school. All classes brought all kinds of canned food for this family and we did as well. What I didn’t realize and neither did my parents that the family they were supporting was us. I remember the surprise and I admit a little excitement when there was a knock on the door. Our pantry, well the shelves on the stairs going down to the basement was filled to over flowing.
I am not sure if it was the same year, or another when there were three deliveries to our door. One was anonymous where someone rang and ran. I still remember that there was a huge Christmas colouring book that kept us well occupied. That year there was also a visit from a Santa’s helper in a Santa suit bringing wrapped presents for all of us. The most surprising was when the doorbell rang and Papa Smurf was at the door helping out Santa.
When we were better situated we were happy to help out other anonymous families who were in the same situation at Christmastime. Being a helper to Santa was a big part of feeling good about Christmas for our family. Even when we didn’t have much, we always found a way to help others. I am not saying this to brag, but it helped us to feel less guilty about having things when we knew there were other people in bad situations.
My back story is part of the reason I want so badly to get Aidan and Quinlan to understand that since we are in a better situation that we need to help as many people as we can. Donating to the food bank with money and canned goods is our biggest focus for the season. There are so many families who are not making it in BC, especially in the lower mainland. I want them to see that we are in a very good situation and it would be really good to help other people. Aidan really gets it. He has a philanthropic plan for the Aidan company already. Quinlan is starting to get it and by the time he is Aidan’s age he really will as well.
My hope is that by helping others my boys will grow up to be empathetic and enlightened men. That they will not look down on people for their monetary situations. That they will be generous human beings. I think we are on the right track.