I grew up in a poor family. We lived in a three-bedroom house (tiny one by the way), and I shared a bedroom with my older brother and older sister. My two oldest siblings shared another room, and my mom had the third one. To give you an idea of how tiny it was, I looked it up on Zillow and the website says it is 1,225 square feet. Tiny – small – much too small for a family of six. Here is a picture of it as it looks now:
It sure has changed in the 40-ish years since I lived there, and as you can see, it is certainly not extravagant. The house I remember had grass in the front, and a huge oak tree off to the right in this picture. I remember climbing it, and I remember my brother falling out of it and breaking his arm. To the left of the front door was a garage, or at least it was a garage until my mother remodeled it into another room for herself to at least expand the amount of bedroom space available. Oh, and she put in an additional bathroom because the single bathroom was inadequate in every way for all of us.
The first window to the right of the front door is the room I slept in. There was a set of bunkbeds and a roll-a-way bed in it that was stowed off to the side when my brother wasn’t using it. The only other furniture was a dresser that had four drawers. You can imagine how stuffed it was. All three of us crammed our clothes into it; my brother’s salvation army duds, and me and my sister’s hand-me-downs (I didn’t get a brand-new set of clothes until my first job in high school).
While I had a semi-happy childhood, I had an overwhelming sense of loneliness despite living with so many people. It might have been a result of being the youngest of five, but I think it was the complete absence of my father and the sporadic sightings of my mother throughout my childhood (don’t get me wrong, my mom had to do what she had to do to take care of us). I spent much of my younger years alone in a crowd.
It was exactly this loneliness that drove me to do better for myself in the future. I’m not saying that my childhood was horrible, but me and my siblings often went without. As a result, I formed concrete ideals of what I wanted, and if I ever had kids, what I wanted my family to be like. It helped formed my ideals of what a mother should be and what a mother should do.
After all these years, I’ve kept my promises, and I believe I’ve done better for myself; for my family, but I often wonder if I had not started my life in such a meager environment, if I would have achieved as much as I have thus far. Regardless of the answer to that, it just demonstrates that if you want something, you can achieve it. Believe in yourself, and take the steps to move toward your goals, they are just over the horizon.