18.7.12

helping out

Disclaimer: This post is LONG. I thought about letting it sit, sink in, and then editing it, but I didn't want the honestly to be edited out. It was tough to write this post because it brought up so many old emotions but, mostly, it made me appreciate all that my dad has done for me and our family, even more than before. 

My parents are divorced. (I have talked about a little bit here.) Ever since I could remember, my dad and my mom had been married to other people. The fall of my freshman year of high school, my world changed. My dad told me he was getting a divorce from his second wife who was my stepmom and my "other" mom for as long as I could remember.

And then a few months later, I found out that my dad and ex-stepmom were in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. 

That spring, I found out my dad had a new girlfriend - and that they were moving into together. I refused to like her at first until a friend made me realize that this situation wasn't her fault, that she came after all drama, and that she just wanted my dad to be happy.

But this post isn't about my dad's divorce.

After my dad and Kathy moved into together, we wanted for nothing. Sure, there weren't incredibly lavish dinners out anymore or frequent trips to the mall or expensive vacations but we were always well fed and we always had a lot of fun. When we weren't with them for a weekend, they ate Kraft mac and cheese because it was cheap and stayed home only to listen to credit card companies call at least once an hour. My dad would soon realize that bankruptcy was the only option. 

And then came the comments from people, even from family, who aren't supposed to kick you when you are down. How could you let it get to this point? Bankruptcy is for cowards who can't own up to the mess they have created! How can you let your kids go through this? It is funny how easy it is to make those comments when you haven't gone through something like this.

And, man, did I ever want to punch people in the face.

Mainly, I hated to see my dad hurt. My dad is not one to express emotion. And he never, ever lets us see the bad. He protects us. But I know that the whole situation made him feel like less of man and a father. 

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When I was a junior in high school, my dad took my brother, my sister, and I to Burger King for lunch. (Kathy always stayed home on these outings to save a few dollars since they were still in a terrible financial situation.) As we were leaving, a man was outside begging for money. His clothes were tattered and his skin was rough and dry. Many people had passed by him, not even giving him a second glance. But when we walked out, my dad handed him a twenty dollar bill. I looked at him in disbelief. That was entire week's worth of mac and cheese!

He turned to me and said, "There is always someone worse off than you." And that was the end of the conversation. 

There is always someone worse off than you. 

My dad may not have been the best with money but he was the best dad anyone could ask for. And really, this whole situation taught me much more than if we never had financial troubles. I learned to never spend more than you have, to never give up, and to have a sense of humility. I learned how to handle adversity with grace and to always remember how fortunate I am to have a meal on the table. I am who I am today because of all the love he has given me. And I see what a great man and father he is, even if others don't. 

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So, why did I write this post? Well, a fellow blogger actually sparked it. 

Elizabeth (E to her readers) from the blog E Tells Tales informed us a few weeks ago that her family was losing the store that had been in her husband's family for years. They could, quite possibly, lose everything. You can read more about it on her blog. 

What pained me the most was to read about how her husband felt like a failure and how people around them would make comments. I had watched my dad go through the same thing. 

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So what can you do? 

Well, first off, don't judge people. This is hard sometimes, even for me. But remember that in situations like this, like my dad's, hindsight is always 20/20. And you never really know what goes on behind closed doors.

E's family is in this situation because a huge WalMart came to town. So, buy local if you can afford to. And you may even find that you will save money doing this. My town doesn't really have a local grocery but the Hubs and I always try to go to local restaurants when we eat out, I shop at the farmer's market, and we joined a CSA

Luckily, E was able to get her old teaching job back but teachers in Alabama don't get money for supplies. (I know a few friends who have spent over a thousand dollars for supplies - on a teacher's salary!) Donate a little bit of money to help with her classroom so she isn't spending money out of her own pocket, which her family really needs right now. She talks about how you can "adopt" her classroom towards the end of this post

For each of you that donates, I will put up a sponsor ad for the month of August and give you a sponsor post like I do for my regular sponsors. You can use the button to advertise your blog, your Etsy shop, or something else. Just send me an email with the name you donated with (it will show up on her classroom adoption page) and the button you want me to use. 

And, stop by and read her blog. Her blog is one of the first I started reading and I love her sense of humor and honesty. It is really refreshing. 

Have a good rest of your day. And thanks to my readers and this little blog community.

{image via my pinterest}

6 comments:

  1. beautiful. so glad you shared, and did not edit, just went with your feelings. wise words!

    miss you lovely girl.

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  2. Oh Morgan, you are such a good writer.

    That line of your dad's, that there is always someone worse off than you, that is so true, and perfectly timed for me. When I start to feel bitter, I remember what I have, and how it's more than others (still), and that gets me through.

    You are so sweet to include me in these thoughts about your dad. I hope he gets to read this. He'd be so proud.

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  3. Morgan, your Dad's story is so powerful, and has clearly shaped you into the wonderful person that you are. You write about both the situation and your Dad's character in a way that is honoring and beautiful. I am glad Elizabeth inspired you to write this post...keep 'em coming!

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  4. I am beyond proud of you! Thank you for the honor of allowing me to call you my daughter. I love you with all my heart. Kathy

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  5. Absolutely inspiring post, and thanks for your honesty! It's a unique and difficult situation to be part of a multi dimensional family, I am one of those myself, but when you have a parent like yours, it really does help you to continue to be a great person yourself. Love your blog!

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  6. this is such a beautiful message - I'm so glad you shared. it's sad that you and your family had to experience this, but it has clearly made you so much stronger and more appreciative of everything around you. thank you!

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