When we think of our childhood, we rarely recall the details that entail money. In fact, years have to go by before we realize that our parents struggled to make ends meet. However, there is always that one moment when the world around us rudely reminds us of our place! Take a look at these stories from AskReddit users who share their moments of realizing that they were poor:
1. It shouldn’t matter what kind of home we live in – (principalman).
When I was a junior in high school, I got some crappy $30 basketball shoes because I didn’t want to spend much of my hard-earned money on them. Football season was just ending and I hadn’t had a lot of time to work in the fall, so I was kind of short. My parents didn’t have money to help us out with extras like basketball shoes.
We were in a tournament in Kansas and as I was getting ready to shoot a free throw, one of my opponents said, “Nice shoes,” and laughed at me. Another said, “How you like being trailer trash?”
The ref heard them and told them he never wanted to hear anything like that ever again. The truth was that we did live in a trailer–the third one out of four that I would live in during my childhood.
One of my teammates must have told the coach because after that game, he let me wear his shoes during games the rest of the year. I still love that man.
2. Mom didn’t eat – (eldiablo11).
10 years old. Told my mom I was hungry before going to bed. She said that she was too. That’s when I realized she never even ate dinner. There just wasn’t enough food.
3. These parents did their best – (dikdronker).
My parents are incredible, let’s start there. Grew up in South Africa and we went from middle-class family to poor without either myself or my sister noticing for a long time. The realization came one day when we had one of our favorite treats for the week, spaghetti bolognese. Thing is, the meat sauce was no longer meat sauce, it was lentils cooked and smashed to resemble ground beef in the sauce. Turns out that as things got harder and harder, this weekly treat got ground beef gradually substituted with lentils until lentils were the only thing my parents were able to afford. That is when I realized we were on hard times. I didn’t say anything, but got a job as a golf caddy at 14, helped where I could, but full credit to my parents who still tried to give us something they knew we loved. Couple years of this and my parents made it through what I am sure was very hard for them. I respect both of them for trying to keep their pain and stress away from us kids, and still serve us spaghetti bolognese (lentilnese).
4. The kid comes first – (curcud).
Looking forward to the free school lunch, because that was the only thing I’d get to eat that day. I felt like crap though, mom wouldn’t eat so I could and dad gave up his lunch because he felt bad eating when mom and I were hungry.
5. His siblings are not very grateful – (rapokemon).
On Christmas when I was 6 my dad took me to a family Christmas breakfast with our extended family and they had a big tree with a pile of presents under it and everyone had multiple presents. My parents only got me and my siblings 1 or 2 but my cousins all had multiple presents from their parents and the rest of the family. Seeing their presents made me realize we were poor but it also made me realize that I had a terrible extended family. My one present from my parents had more sentiment than the board games I got from those guys every year. Also I just remembered my dad always got his brother and sisters t-shirts from his work and everyone thought he was getting them for free so they were mad about it but the price was actually taken out of his paycheck. The shirts were $15 each and he has 1 brother and 8 sisters.
6. The best memories were at McDonald’s – (czhunc).
I realized later that when my parents took me to McDonald’s and just watched me eat, it wasn’t because they weren’t hungry. It’s because they could only afford one meal.
7. Giving back – (joblo619).
When my new clothes were my dad’s old clothes that had been cut to fit me for my birthday. I was so happy to have clothes like my dad’s, they even had the same cement stains on them! My mom was nearly in tears and I thought it was because she was so happy that I was happy. It turned out she was ashamed that they couldn’t afford new clothes at the rate I was growing. I was fortunate because I never knew about poverty due to the love that our family had.
Now 20+ years later, I’m supporting my mother and father, the fridge is always full and there will never be a moment when they go hungry, I give them both enough money to enjoy life and this year, I’m planning on surprising my mom and dad with a trip to Paris, France. If being poor did anything for me, it taught me to not be selfish and give more than I receive. For Christmas and my birthday, all I want are socks.
8. Water it down – (stupidlyugly).
My mother would buy frozen orange juice concentrate and use twice as much water to make it last longer. I never knew orange juice could taste good until my late teens.