Ahhh the panty "incident." Like I said before, the grab bags made the trip worth the embarrassment. Normally, they would be filled with really random things... candy, keychains, Chinese finger traps, etc. This time was a little different.
I reached in, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a pair of large panties with "Paul" written on the rear.
I was like maybe 11. And the worst part, we kept shopping there even after. It's not like they weren't clean or new or anything, it's just that they were PANTIES with a man's name on them... Kind of like the underwear you had as a kid that had the days of the week on them, except much more inappropriate. Yes, my parents found this "prize" both hilarious and mortifying, but not enough to keep us from continuing to go there.
It wasn't that big of a deal breaker to me either. I thought it was funny too, but I tossed those undies real quick like. My obsession with all things clean didn't start in nursing school or after for me, it's been a life long issue.
I will share with you what finally did "break the camels back" as they would say.
Let me remind you if you are just reading one of my blogs or catching up from where we last dropped off...that money was very tight for my family growing up. I hated it, at least at the time, as I am sure most kids do. However, I am so grateful for those times now. They helped shape me into the person I am today, which is 1. Grateful for all things and 2. A hard worker. Neither of which I think are bad things. So keep that in mind when reading this, as I write from the perspective of my 11 year old self. Doesn't take much to mortify or embarrass a young "tween" girl.
My light at the end of the tunnel involves something similar to a Tequila worm.
You know how tequila bottles have worms in them? I'm pretty sure some people eat them actually. Not a big tequila person, so can't attest to that. However, what I can attest to is the fact they are not supposed to be inside of ketchup bottles. Ever. Ever. Never.
This was it. The final straw. We are at the dinner table and for the life of me I cannot remember what we were eating except that it involved ketchup. As we were eating, my dad noticing something in his ketchup that most definitely was NOT supposed to be there. A. Little. White. Worm. That was the turning point for all of our grocery shopping at the Bent and Dent from that point forward. My mom was always frugal, clearly, before this, but now without this as an option, she really got creative.
Looking back, in order to save money, my mom made all of our meals, and rarely did we eat out. She made our salad dressings, bread, she canned vegetables and made homemade jams and jellies. We never bought soda or candy because it was too expensive. She would make homemade desserts and snacks. There was never "quick" and easy breakfasts and lunches because they were too expensive. It was bacon and eggs, or biscuits and pancakes in the morning; salads and sandwiches for lunches. I hated it. I wanted to be like the cool kids with their Pop-tarts and Lunchables. With their Pepsi's and candy bars after school. Every now and then my mom would give us a dollar to go after school to the local store and let us run in and get whatever we wanted with it, but let's be real, even then a dollar didn't necessarily go too far. I had major feelings of missing out.
Let's fast forward to today. To the point of this story. I love cooking for my family and we rarely eat out. I don't feel bad about it at all. That's not to say we don't run through a drive-thru when needed, but I have major guilt feelings about it after (even though I shouldn't). My kids have tried soda maybe twice in their life. I want to learn how to can veggies and make jams and jellies so badly. I love homemade desserts and breads so much better than store bought. All of those things that my mom did when we were growing up because we "had to," are all the things I WANT to do and learn. All the things I hated in regards to meals and such growing up are all the things I want for my children.
I know I have said it before, but those difficult times really shaped me as an adult in so many ways. For the better. I look back and see how my mom took time every single day making sure we had healthy, nutritious meals on the table, while on a budget. That while we didn't have much, we never went without a meal, even if it meant getting seriously crafty. She couponed and shopped around. She was basically every single successful mom blogger that I see on the internet now. How to make meals on a budget, Christmas shop on a budget, birthday parties on a budget, meal planning and prepping, the list goes on... Next time you hear your kids tell you (or if mine ever tell me) how "uncool" something is or how they are missing out, or the next time you think you aren't doing "enough," just remember this post. You and your kids will thank me later ;)