This is not a sob story. We were young. We were poor. And we were frugal. We knew how to stretch a dollar. And how to make a few dollars out of a dozen or so tortillas, tacos or tamales. A little effort. A little dose of creativity. And most importantly our seeming innate sense of ingenuity. If there was one thing we all walked away with, from the doors and memories of our childhood, it was the inability to ever truly give up.
In all honesty, we didn’t know any better. We were bumpkins. Country bumpkins. In the truest form. Too blinded by our ignorance. Coming from a world of nothing but dirt roads and imagination. Where all we knew was como salir adelante con el sudor de la frente… and by the occasional generosity of complete strangers. No street cred. Just wild curiosity and bewilderment well beneath our years. Everything was new. Every opportunity a chance to be amazed.
I’d like to say we were more sophisticated, but we weren’t.
We didn’t know how to give up. Even now, though we’ve gotten much better at it, when it really counts, we just can’t seem to be able to lie down and take whatever comes in our direction. Maybe it’s just human nature, not anything exclusive to our family of nine. But every time I’m at the brink, right there about to give in, wanting to let go… wanting to not care anymore, I can’t. I’m eight, nine and ten again, trailing door to door behind my mother, selling her tortillas, offering to clean houses, anything to make a few extra bucks. I’m in the parking lots of Fiesta and Wal-Mart: tamales… ¿no quiere tamales? Would you like to buy tamales?, over and over again despite the dirty looks and rejection of our hard work.
And I’m reminded of just who I am and where I come from.
Mis padres nunca se han rajado. I’m hoping to do the same.
Let me tell you Juan, that now in these days a lot of us must go back to our memories in order to survives today economic. We still see these kinds of brave women and we will see them for many years to come Because we are LUCHADORES! With no limit in our mind but wit a lot of dreams and faith.Good article I hope kids can read this!
Love this one, Juan. We had very different childhoods but I’m learning the meaning of what is to have hustle – it feels good at the end of the day to know I didn’t waste it, even if the dinerito isn’t much – I earned it and I worked hard for it.
Maria, en serio que hay mucha gente LUCHADORA en este mundo, y ahora mas que nunca es que es tan importante acordarnos de lo mucho que se puede hacer con poco. Thank you for the kind words!
Tracy, we might have had very different childhood’s, but somehow as adults we’ve come out sharing so many of the same values. I’m sure you’ve always known the value of money… it’s hard not to when you have to work for what you get! Y ahora, you settle for Bubu Lubus… Me for anything with a little Valentina salsa 🙂
It’s easy to want to give our kids everything we didn’t have but we have to remember the best gift is making them know they are strong enough to handle whatever life throws at them. Also that you do things because of loving each other and wanting to help each other.
It’s not how much you give them that counts, but the life lessons we teach them… I agree with you on that Beth! A tantrum or two won’t do a kid bad 🙂
I threw so many of those as a kid, and never, ever got what I wanted when I did.
Love this! I’m so there with you! We grew up dirt poor and yet our family always kept their faith and spirits high. The humility and determination that you find in the process is beyond the finest gifts. Great post Juan! ♥
Thanks, Chantilly… I really do believe there is a lot of truth to behind the notion that less is more. Despite not having any luxuries growing up, we did walk away with a lot of personal wealth from our childhoods. So glad we weren’t the only ones 🙂
Exactly right. It may not have seemed like the way to live when it was happening, but I know that the experiences made me a stronger, humbler person. I try hard to instill the same values in my daughter. Maybe I’ll take criticism that she doesn’t have the flashy toys and things that many kids have these days…but I’m an advocate for imagination. 😉
Totally on the same page, Chantilly! For example, we never grew up on cable and still managed to watch way too much TV as kids, when my parents wouldn’t force us away from the television that is. Now, I refuse to get cable at home, for the same reason. Because even if he is the only one that doesn’t have cable at home, Edgar won’t have as much opportunity to kill time just staring at the tube. That goes for me as well… because there are so many shows on cable that I would probably be hooked on. I don’t need them, LOL!