I grew up in a middle class family in Michigan. My parents are still married, and I have an older brother, and an older sister. When we were growing up, we always had what we needed, but not always what we wanted. We had the necessities plus a little extra though. Food, clothing, a beautiful home and the love of our parents. We usually took a summer trip to the east coast, and occasionally a trip to a new destination. We were a vocal family. Feelings were always known. By everyone. We muddled through life, doing what we had to do….school, work, chores, etc. We were well cared for. We didn’t get designer clothes, the trendy jeans, or latest styles. We didn’t always get to do the sports or after school activities we wanted to due to costs or transportation difficulties, but we did get to do some. We were a family that was comfortable in our little box. We didn’t venture out often, or at least not too far.
I met my husband when I was working at a movie theater at the age of 16. We were both from the same high school, but I didn’t know him then. I shared a locker with his sister in 7th grade, he graduated high school in the same year and from the same school as my brother and brother-in-law, and his father was our mailman for the first nine years of my life, but I didn’t know him. We got married when I was three months shy of 21, and he was 23. We were very young, even for 1990. He was in the Navy, and I was in college. We were stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. We continued to plug along in life, at a new, young couple level. Noticeably, leaner than I had been when living with my parents. No money for a honeymoon, sharing a car, and living in a tiny apartment. Our couch was a daybed, our side table a mini fridge, our coffee table a hope chest. Our bed was a mattress on the floor, with a milk crate bedside table.
When my husband got his honorable discharge from the Navy, we moved back to Michigan, and he started college, while I finished. After my graduation, I worked full time while he went to school, and worked a co-op job. He had three months of school, three months of work for five years.. We lived with his grandfather for 2 years, and then moved to a slightly larger apartment than the first. We moved up to real furniture. In the proper rooms. Four months before he finished his degree we had our first child, a year and a half later, we bought our first house. We said we would be there five years. We are still in that house today, almost 18 years later, but not because we have to be. Sometimes, bigger and better is not what is important…….