Yesterday was pay day - both with the pension check and my pay from the nursing home. My youngest asked for a new pair of shoes for the summer. He had seen a pair of canvas slip-ons for $20.00 at Payless when he was out with friends. I took him there after school. They had a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale and I suggested he also pick out a pair of sandals and he did (cost us another $10.00).
I felt so sad and yet strangely happy at the same time during the shoe store excursion. Sad that my son is only getting a $20.00 pair of shoes, from a discount shoe store no less. But then happy that he was so grateful and pleased with the shoes and that he got a bonus pair besides.
After our shopping (which with boys is pretty much in and out quickly), I dropped him off and went to the store for something for dinner. My oldest complained when I told him we were having turkey hot dogs. He said he'd eaten hot dogs all weekend, whenever he'd gone to one of his friend's houses - all the dads were grilling!
So, I hit the store I frequent to see if there was anything on sale that I could prepare as an alternative. As I've mentioned in other posts, this store sells meat and dairy products for half price when they are at the expiration code. Yesterday, they had some gourmet skillet meals (chicken and pasta) for just $3.00 and I picked up two for the boys because they looked especially hungry. They were excited having just gotten their practice football equipment for summer camp.
I came home and made the pasta along with bagged salad (99 cents from ALDI) and while I was cooking gave the boys French bread with artichoke/cheese spread. It was such a nice meal and I felt proud of myself for being able to feed the boys until they were full and do it on such a limited budget.
The boys wanted to watch "America's Got Talent," which we have never followed. While they were watching I served them strawberry shortcake, the ingredients I'd picked up to have over the holiday weekend. But I never made it because the boys were never home - busy with friends, marching in the parade, plus I worked this weekend. Just seeing the boys scarf down their meals with appreciation meant a lot to me. To give them a little extra with the bread and spread, to have dessert.
I felt good as a mom - that despite the financial hardships, there are glimmers of hope in a new pair of inexpensive shoes and a filling meal. I don't often feel this way, like I'm doing an adequate job since we always seem so lacking. But I did feel a sense of pride in my abilities to stretch out a dollar and again am reminded of how in the end, happiness doesn't come from the amount that is spent. I was able to provide for the boys beyond the mere basics - stomachs and hearts were content as we watched t.v. together as a family.