Got Milk

Somewhere along the way, I forgot where I came from. The appeal of bologna & cheese sandwiches with chips and a side of Kool-Aid no longer appeal to me. I want gourmet sandwiches drizzled in a vignette, sliced pickles, and Dijon mustard. A side of potato salad or kettle chips, lemonade and I’ll be all set. I grew up as they say (whoever they are) with humble beginnings. I didn’t grow knowing that food could last a long time because with four kids in the house we ran through everything literally in less than a week (toilet paper lasted maybe 2 days). When my Mom bought juice, it didn’t last a day unless my older sister would pull it from the refrigerator and hide it in her room. My brother, younger sister and I would bang on her door or try to pry it open. However, we could never get past my older sisters’ barricade.

I remember talking to a friend & they were telling me about their struggles growing up as a kid. I always found myself fascinated with a personal struggle story.  I realize “underdog, nobody expected you’d prevail, but you did” stories are my favorite. When mt friend was finished, I mentioned a milk story as a kid. Once when I was a kid, we were running out of milk for cereal. We had plenty of cereal, but only enough milk for one bowl and everyone wanted it. My mom was at work, so she couldn’t go buy any and we didn’t have any money at home. I don’t know who came up with what we would do, but it was decided that we would all use the same milk, (bowl even spoon) adding new cereal when it was our turn. We went from oldest to youngest. First was my older sister. She ate her bowl then it was passed to my brother. Once my brother was finished it went to me then to my younger sister. Looking back at it now we must have had some major backwash. Honestly, I wonder why we didn’t just use water instead? However, we weren’t the type of kids who drank sugar water or ate mayonnaise sandwiches when supplies ran out. We just kept it simple drinking just plain water (the hose water in the apartments we lived in was the best) and eating plain bread.

I didn’t make a vow never to feed my child bologna sandwiches or serve him Kool-Aid. I merely realized that although Kool-Aid tastes good, it’s filled with tons of sugar. Although, I like bologna and hot dogs it’s literally just different parts of an animal ground up into a meat patty. They’re just not my go-to foods when feeding my kid. I’m not sure, but between my kid visiting his grandparents and his dad I’m sure he’s eaten bologna and drank Kool-Aid…and loved it.

I remember my grandparents selecting me to go on vacation with them to Lake Tahoe. I felt so special, and I had a great time. We didn’t go to buffets much as a kid. My mom tended to cook at home; so when my grandparents took me to a buffet, I ate one plate of food; lasagna. When they told me to go back to eat more I told them I was full. They scolded me and said I caused them to waste money. On the way home from Lake Tahoe, we stopped off at a fast food restaurant. They wanted to order me a happy meal. I was about 12 years old, and I didn’t want a happy meal. They were kind enough to order me a regular meal but said I’d pay if I didn’t eat it all. Well, guess what, I ate it all! I was so stuffed I felt slightly sick, but I made sure they didn’t know that. I didn’t want them to win. From that point on I always finished my food…always.

My mom always made sure we had a balanced meal for dinner. Meat, starch, vegetable and sometimes bread. I can’t recall ever going hungry nor do I remember ever having a choice of what I could or could not eat. If it was placed in front of me, I ate it. Over the last few years, I realized that it was ok to be picky. I didn’t have to only shop the $1 menu at fast food restaurants. If I was eating something that didn’t taste good I didn’t have to keep eating it. I learned if I was full, I didn’t have to finish my food right then & there.

Sometimes we pick up habits. Some good and some bad because that’s all those around us know how to teach. My mom literally taught my siblings and me how to make ends meet. By the way, I used to think “make ends meet” was “make ends meat.” In my mind when someone spoke this saying they were taking the scraps of meat to make it work to provide for a need. I didn’t know what it truly meant until my college professor corrected me. He didn’t insult me in doing so either. He looked at me & told me my brain worked differently.

There are moments when I miss roughing it out. I miss having a lack of knowledge. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I want to remain in ignorance, but there’s a simplicity to life when you don’t open the door to all it has to offer. Yet the downside is what you will miss if you remain in that state. You miss out on all the wonders, delicacies, the enlightenment of life. You’ll remain in a bubble, limited, constricted and you’ll pass that down from your generation to the next.

I didn’t realize I could have more in life until I stepped out of the bubble and took my first gasp of air. In #DyingDaily I recognize that there is so much to experience, so much to love, thrive on and something to exist for. That is to bring Glory to the Kingdom of God. I realized that it’s okay to be picky, it’s ok to be full and not finish. It’s ok to say no and not feel guilty because what you want isn’t what’s being offered. I have no regrets on how I grew up and the things I’ve experienced. When I remember where I come from, I see a long road behind me. When I look forward, I see an even longer path ahead. One that I feel privileged to travel.

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